Dennis Loo

Sometimes asking for the impossible is the only realistic path

Dennis Loo

Dennis Loo
Location
Los Angeles, California,
Birthday
December 31
Title
Professor of Sociology
Company
Cal Poly Pomona
Bio
Author of Globalization and the Demolition of Society; Co-Editor/Author of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, World Can't Wait Steering Committee Member, co-author of "Crimes Are Crimes, No Matter Who Does Them" statement, dog and fruit tree lover. Published poet. Winner of the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award, Project Censored Award and the Nation Magazine's Most Valuable Campaign Award. Punahou and Harvard Honor Graduate. Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz. An archive of close to 500 postings of mine can be found at my blogspot blog, Dennis Loo, link below. I publish regularly at dennisloo.com, worldcantwait.net (link below) and also at OpEd News and sometimes at Counterpunch.

MAY 3, 2010 9:17PM

Just Drill, Baby, Drill

Rate: 9 Flag

419922-600-800

Dramatic and graphic testimony to the utter bankruptcy of capital's ruthless pursuit of, and worship of, the god of profits, heedless to safety concerns, the fragility and preciousness of the planet, and scientific counsel. This Deepwater Horizon explosion may turn out to be the worst anthropogenic environmental disaster ever. 

From BNET:

"Exclusive close-up photos reveal the dramatic demise of the Deepwater Horizon, the BP-managed oil rig responsible for the huge oil slick that now threatens the Gulf Coast. Obtained by BNET Technology blogger Erik Sherman from a confidential source, the photos include a timestamped series in which the rig goes from listing heavily to sunk beneath the waves in just four minutes." 

From Michael Tomasky at the Guardian UK:

"From the Wall Street Journal:

The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week...

... regulators in two major oil-producing countries, Norway and Brazil, in effect require them. Norway has had acoustic triggers on almost every offshore rig since 1993.

The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness, according to the agency overseeing offshore drilling. The agency, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, says it decided the remote device wasn't needed because rigs had other back-up plans to cut off a well.

The U.K., where BP is headquartered, doesn't require the use of acoustic triggers.

"The Journal's report doesn't come out and say this, but the environmental lawyer, Mike Papantonio, said on the Schultz show in an interview you can watch here that it was Cheney's energy task force - the secretive one that he wouldn't say much about publicly - that decided that the switches, which cost $500,000, were too much a burden on the industry. The Papantonio segment starts at around 5:00 in and lasts three minutes or so." 

*** 

See also this link to Media Matters' fine chronicling of the "Drill, Baby Drill" cheerleaders from Sarah Palin et al. This is must reading. 

Rather than any mea culpas from this lot of environmental disasterites, we get instead Rush Limbaugh claiming that this disaster perhaps was carried out by left wing environmentalists to give the oil plutocrats and their cheerleaders a bad name.  

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Yes. Bonnie. Thanks for doing that. That's where I got the photo from.

This may turn out to be the worst human caused environmental disaster ever.
More like "spill, baby, spill."
R.
The "back up plan" is called a "Blowout Preventer" (BOP) and they are only effective if you can GET to them. Obviously, the one on Deepwater Horizons is completely ineffective. Part of the reason that it is ineffective is because it is almost a mile under water and part of the reason is because the pipeline, according to what I have read, was damaged both fore and aft the BOP so it is completely useless.
fantastic info. if the MSM doesnt pick up/talk about cheney, the task force, & the acoustic switch, you'll know its [Corrupt] Business As Usual.
by the way huffpost is saying that halliburton may have made the concrete associated with the blow-out-preventer
I guess our govt has hundreds of billions of dollars for AIG to pay off rich speculators-gamblers, but doesnt have 500K to keep oil off the shores of the US. and by the way, Im sure the "cost" of the "spill" is in the billions already. environmental damage, cleanup costs, fishing, tourism, etc... my opinion, "spill" is an inaccurate term. its a gushing. a spill of a boat is a finite amt of oil even if you do nothing. the amt of oil involved here is massive, unlimited, esp if you do nothing....
its beyond an obscenity. there are not words to describe it.
Dennis, I heardPampantino talking about this today on Hartmann's program. It seems it goes back further than even Darth Cheney. The Bush I admin made a lot of the safety items "voluntary" along with compliance to just about everything thru the Dan Quayle "Competitivness Council."
Hell, why is it Republicans think they cant compete unless they have control of all the rules and the rulemakers first?
I hope you are wrong about the worst environmental disaster. Right now, Chernoble still claims that title with perhaps a 25 yr death toll approaching 7 figures.
Yes, vzn, it's not a spill, it's an explosive geyser.

Thanks Judy & Mrs Raptor for the BOP info.
In terms of its impact on the environment, on the fish, shellfish and other ocean creatures and plant life, the seabed, and god forbid, it gets into the gulf stream and is carried out to the east coast and even to Europe, it won't cause as many human deaths as Chernobyl, but it might well become the worst in terms of its overall negative and long-lasting effects.
"Rush Limbaugh claiming that this disaster perhaps was carried out by left wing environmentalists to give the oil plutocrats and their cheerleaders a bad name."

Is there any evidence that it wasn't an accident?
Investigations going on?
Hannu: There's no evidence this was sabotage whatsoever. Limbaugh is a scumbag who will do anything to deflect blame away from the true criminals.
rwnut: I agree about both parties.
The Mineral Management Service is a bureaucratic backwater of porkchoppers and timeservers who are captives of the oil industry. They are a perfect example of regulatory capture by the companies they supposedly regulate. And it is true, Cheney did double duty on this Gulf of Mexico disaster both by his accursed energy management task force and by Halliburton, which was responsible for the crappy cement job on the wellhead.

By the way, Halliburton caused a similar disaster with crappy concrete work in Australia.
"Halliburton, which was responsible for the crappy cement job on the wellhead."

Crappy safety systems are just just the secondary thing.

There must be some reasons for the explosion, which caused the disaster. Oil rigs don't explode every day and all the time. Is there any kind of investigations going on about the reasons of the accident?
The buildup of natural gas and the hurried, reckless treatment of the gas caused a sudden release of the gas upwards leading to the explosion. Several of the workers have reported that the work was being rushed.
"The buildup of natural gas and the hurried, reckless treatment of the gas caused a sudden release of the gas upwards leading to the explosion. Several of the workers have reported that the work was being rushed"

I give up, no one that is commenting has any clue of fluid dynamics at all.....
Hannu, I wouldn't waste my time on OS trying to find facts on what exactly caused the blowout/explosion at all. At best all you would find are anecdotes not concrete engineering/scientific explanantions
It really sounds that some kind of independent investigations are needed to find out, what happened. So that the same thing wouldn't happen again. The are lots of oil rigs around the world. This kind of disasters are rare and so there should be identifiable causes for the disaster.
"I wouldn't waste my time on OS trying to find facts on what exactly caused the blowout/explosion at all. "

I agree that we cannot find the scientific explanation here at OS.. I'm just trying to convince people that investigations are needed.

I have studied myself physics at the university level, I know something about these things. I'm not waiting for the scientific explanations here, just to convince people that facts exist and they can be found if proper investigations would be done.
Marianne:

What is the relationship between your comment about fluid dynamics and the gas? Last time I checked gas and fluids are two different things. Are you claiming that this explosion was an explosion of fluids?
Dennis,

I would suggest you check whether gas is a fluid or not
Ok, Marianne. You're correct. Gas is considered a fluid. Would you care to explain your initial comment in reaction to my paraphrase previously of what a worker said about the explosion?
Hannu you are right in that these type of disasters are rare. Investigations would be done and the causes will be indentified. I am sure at the end of the day BP, Transocean and other companies like the ones that manufactures the BOPs and safety valves will be culpable but to just throw around accusations that BP, Halliburton deliberately ignored safety rules and procedures is just plain inane when you are talking about a rig that was operating at a spread rate of over $1 million a day and a project that would have ultimately cost hundreds of millions of dollars. BP paid $34million just for the particular lease block and the right to drill the well, so to claim that BP skimped on a $500K switch(and I don't know what switch the article is talking about) to be installed on a rig that cost $350million to build in 2001 which Transocean owns and BP was contracting just for the well is plain ludicruous. I think WSJ can come up with a better story. All I am saying is we need to wait for facts before we start throwing around accusations even though it is hard to resist taking a jab at "Big Oil" Coincidently BP only owns 65% of the propsect, the other 35% is by an independant named Anadarko and a Japanese company called Mitsui. This might shock many folks but natural oil seepage around the world are in the order of 4 million barrels a year, again not defending anyone or condoning what happened but just to put things into perpective...
Dennis,

First I have to ask you specifucally what worker you are talking about. It might shock you but the average roughneck on a rig even one as sophisticated as this might or might not have graduated high school. So to use his statements to back up a speculation doesn't really fly. And I am assuming it's a roughneck, it could have been the cook or even a janitor. Who knows but I would not really rely on hearsay. The people that probably saw everything as it was happening on the drill floor are the 11 that died.
Marianne:

You claim on the basis of "logic" that BP would not have scrimped on a $500,000 remote control shut-off switch. But in fact, they did do exactly that, didn't they?

Your chain of reasoning reminds me of Alan Greenspan's testimony before Congress when he had to sheepishly do a mea culpa for helping to create the basis for the financial meltdown. Greenspan said in October 2008:

ALAN GREENSPAN: I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.

CHAIRMAN WAXMAN: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working.

ALAN GREENSPAN: Absolutely, precisely. You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it [free market capitalism] was working exceptionally well.
Dennis

The fact of the matter is even the ROVs could not manually close the BOPs on the sea floor. The acoustic switch would not have changed the outcome of the matter. There were multiple emergency kill switches that were activated that did not work because the BOPs was somehow damaged during the course of the blowout. Again even the ROVs could not manually shut the BOPs so let's not blame BP just because of your disgust for Big Oil. Figure out what happened before the blame game Dennis. You are a profesor, you should know better.
Let me rephrase, there were multiple remote emergency shut off kill switches in place all over the rig, the acoutic swicth would have been redundant if it was a remote kill swicth and useless if the BOP was damaged
Marianne:

We should distinguish between early indicators of evidence for how this happened from the question of whether or not blame should be aimed at BP et al. In other words, we don't yet have enough information about why exactly this happened. What we do know for sure, however, is that this rig exploded and sank and we know the principals - BP, Halliburton, and so on. We know that this is already causing great damage to the waters and the region and could perhaps end up being a major catastrophe on the order of one of the worst ever or possibly THE worst ever.

We know that these principals are to blame. Exactly what they did wrong we only have some early indications of. We also know a great deal about the nature of major oil corporations and how they operate. Fury at this incident is, in other words, warranted.
Dennis

Can you outline exactly what the early indicators of evidence are because it's not very clear to me. You are basing your entire point of view from anectodal evidence of what happened some 20 years ago based on the statement "We also know a great deal about the nature of major oil corporations and how they operate" I want to know and understand facts before even beginning to place responsibility and blame but perhaps here and your article is not the place for that.

And in reasponse to Greenspan original logic or presumtion that "the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms" I would have to ask - Was the logic actually defective or was the presumption that the people in charge of the organization were actually looking out for the self interest of the organizations and their shareholders defective? I would say the latter is the truth.
From your Palast article coming from the words of a lawyer
"Becnel tells me that one of the platform workers has informed him that the BP well was apparently deeper than the 18,000 feet depth reported. BP failed to communicate that additional depth to Halliburton crews, who, therefore, poured in too small a cement cap for the additional pressure caused by the extra depth. So, it blew"

Priceless I tell you, priceless. Again it shows you how deficient in basic science most Americans are including educated lawyers
Marianne:

There is a smoking gun. Or should I say, a smoking plume of gas. We know who the principle parties are. You're paid by the oil companies and it's not therefore surprising that you are rushing to judgment in defending them against the just outrage of people for this horrendous disaster.

You ask/state in response to the quote from Alan Greenspan on the financial crisis: "Was the logic actually defective [that the free market will take care of everything] or was the presumption that the people in charge of the organization were actually looking out for the self interest of the organizations and their shareholders defective? I would say the latter is the truth."

On what basis do you say that the latter is the truth? What Greenspan was admitting to, to his credit, was that he was wrong to believe that the CEO's and other leaders of these investment banks would refrain from doing anything that would recklessly endanger the investments of shareholders and investors in these companies. Marianne, the nature of capital is such, especially in this stage of transnationals whose capitalization dwarfs that of ordinary businesses, that they find it cheaper to avoid spending much on safety and on precautions. What has been the experience of these banks like Goldman Sachs? They were bailed out by the government after taking the companies and the economy to the brink of disaster! They have been using the billions given them to get even bigger and to pay themselves even bigger undeserved bonuses!

It is cheaper for these companies such as Big Oil and Agribusinesses etc. to not avoid accidents and not spend sufficient money on safety measures and cope with the occasional disaster than it is to avoid these incidents. See, for example, my article on hamburger and e coli here.
Dennis and Marianne, glad to see that the debate started on my post continued here! Rated
It is clear that we don't know yet what caused the disaster.
One big problem is that general public will maybe never know.

These things will become political and common people don't know enough about science and technology, so that they can easily be misled according to their political leanings guided by political actors and journalists.

I have been already years really skeptical concerning news related to science, technology and politics coming out of US. The two big things, so-called 'global warming theory' and 'the official explanations of 9/11' I never believed.

I realized early that there is no scientific proof at all that any increase of co2 in the atmosphere would cause any measurable rise of the temperature. The scientific evidence points just the opposite. The recent 'climategate' scandal has already shown that scientists behind the publicity of the 'theory' have intentionally forged their reconstructions of the temperature measurements to mislead the public.

About the official explanations of 9/11 it was quite clear at once that the collapses of the towers were not possibly caused by the airplanes, which hit the buildings. On the other hand I cannot believe that outside actors with 'arab hijackers in planes' could arrange such a show as hitting with airplanes big buildings in the heart of NY and especially hitting Pentagon. Some kind of insiders' job is needed to do that. (I don't believe that GWB was behind 9/11.)

I don't think that any oil company would intentionally scrap normal safety structures in a such kind of very public place as the scene of this disaster. The bad publicity for the company in the case of an accident would take care of that?

We already know that there are many companies involved, maybe the complexity of the operational structure caused the accident. Maybe there was something unexpected in the bore hole, like for example much higher pressure than expected. Maybe somebody who had sneaked inside as a worker intentionally made some sabotage.

As said independent investigations would be needed to find out the reasons of the disaster. But from where to find any capable 'independent' investigators? From China? Aliens from the outer space?
Although this oil blowout is the latest blow against the country the continuous death of thousands from preventable medical errors, from lack of proper safety precautions in traffic, from the still basically unassailable tobacco companies, the presence of huge very possible accidents in nuclear power facilities, from the chemical industry and the obvious destruction of the general economy by the disastrous manipulations of Wall Street financiers makes the feeble attempts of an explosive car in Times Square and an idiot with a pants full of explosives obviously ridiculous. And where is the big money going to stop this destruction of the country? Why, to the Middle East where a bunch of primitive corrupt insane crooks are stealing and killing everything they can get their hands on. Does this make sense?
Hannu:

The reason why anthropogenic global warming is the consensus of the world's scientific community is because the evidence for it is overwhelming.

Big Oil apologists who say things like there are millions of gallons of oil naturally seeping around the globe would be like someone saying that because a volcanic eruption releases mercury into the air, then it's OK for humans to release mercury into the air and water too since "Mother Nature" does it.

Jan - right you are as to magnitudes.
"[global warming] the evidence for it is overwhelming."

1) Scientific calculations about warming, if co2 would double in the atmosphere show that there would be at most 1 degree Celcius without any feedbacks. The feedbacks seem to be negative according to the latest studies. Positive feedbacks making any bigger warming are just hypotheses, not backed by real theories or by the measurements.

2) 1 degree Celsius seems to be less than the natural variance by cloud changes etc.

3) We have got reliable measurements about 'global' temperatures only after the satellite times. The measurements during that period are showing no real correlation between the temperatures and rising co2. Actually during the last ten years when co2 has been rising most, the 'global' temperature has gone in average slightly down.

In my opinion 'the anthropological global warming theory' is 'only' a political movement (probably partly backed by big money from nuclear industries), not a scientific theory.

I'm mainly in agreement with your other comment:

"Big Oil apologists who say things like there are millions of gallons of oil naturally seeping around the globe would be like someone saying that because a volcanic eruption releases mercury into the air, then it's OK for humans to release mercury into the air and water too since "Mother Nature" does it."

Probably natural seepage of oil into the water is far more than the oil as spilled by oil companies. But oil company accidents make big problems of spilling big amounts of oil into one place in short times. The results we can see for example at the Gulf of Mexico.
Hannu:

The damage done by oil company spills/accidents is concentrated in one place at one time and far, far more damaging than any natural oil seepage.

As for your views on global warming, I must urge you to do more reading and research. Arguing that there is no problem here in the face of the evidence is really like arguing that the earth is flat. Consider, if you will, merely the alarming rate at which the Arctic ice masses are dissolving. This has been and is being measured and is also backed by theory. Your statement here that these are "just hypotheses, not backed by real theories or by the measurements" is not accurate.
I would like to suggest that in light of this new environmental disaster that people check out a video/web conference that took place at UC Berkeley "Emergency Conference: Copenhagen,Environmental Crisis, and the Future of Humanity" on April 26, 2010. Props to Dennis and to Bonnie Russell for posting these photos and links. Rated!
OOPS! I forgot to post the link :-) It is at http://www.revolutionbooks.org/ and at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/6470774
I think people need to look at and question the system that created these conditions where the powers that be find it necessary to drill the ocean floors necessary thus resulting in disasters such as this. Btw I would have to agree with Dennis that this is probably going to be the worst environmental disaster to date.
"like arguing that the earth is flat. Consider, if you will, merely the alarming rate at which the Arctic ice masses are dissolving. This has been and is being measured and is also backed by theory."

The thing is that many really highest level specialists of the issue of climatology like Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer are there as living proofs that being skeptical about 'the anthropological global warming' is not at all any 'flat earth theory'.

Nobody has been able to show that even doubling of co2 in the atmosphere would lead more than 1 degree of global warming, which is the estimation by no feedbacks. As I told, recent studies show that the feedback is negative so that the warming would be even much less.

As concerns melting arctic ice masses, the statistics show that global ice masses have remained about the same during last 30 years. Nordic ice masses have melted but Antarctic ice masses have grown. Last few years iced areas in north regions have started expanding quite rapidly.

The recent 'climategate' scandal showed that some of the main proponents of 'the global warming hypotheses' have intentionally forged their reconstructions of past temperature measurements.

I have studied physics and mathematics at the university, have been teaching those subjects some time at schools. I can and have read during recent years myself original articles of the leading scientists, who have written about the subject of 'global warming'.

I have written in my blog here about the subject 'how we can really know truths' concerning big (really happened or just proposed) disasters like '9/11', 'global warming' and the recent oil disaster.

There is much evidence that people have been intentionally misled concerning this kind of things earlier. There are big money and big powers involved. We have to remain quite careful not believe everything what news agencies are telling to us.
From the New Scientist:

Why Antarctic ice is growing despite global warming

20 April 2009 by Catherine Brahic
Magazine issue 2705

It's the southern ozone hole whatdunit. That's why Antarctic sea ice is growing while at the other pole, Arctic ice is shrinking at record rates. It seems CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals have given the South Pole respite from global warming.

But only temporarily. According to John Turner of the British Antarctic Survey, the effect will last roughly another decade before Antarctic sea ice starts to decline as well.

Arctic sea ice is decreasing dramatically and reached a record low in 2007. But satellite images studied by Turner and his colleagues show that Antarctic sea ice is increasing in every month of the year expect January. "By the end of the century we expect one third of Antarctic sea ice to disappear," says Turner. "So we're trying to understand why it's increasing now, at a time of global warming."
"By the end of the century we expect one third of Antarctic sea ice to disappear," says Turner. "So we're trying to understand why it's increasing now, at a time of global warming."

I think that Turner's problem is that he is a strong believer of that 'global warming'.

If he realized that in reality there has been no global warming at all, it wouldn't be so difficult to understand Antartic ices becoming bigger.

I think that Prof. Don J. Easterbrook is quite much on the right track on his article as published here:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10783

And I think that the discovered about 30 year cycles depend on the cyclical variations of the radiation coming from the Sun.

Easterbrook is writing:

"Climatic fluctuations over the past several hundred years suggest ~30 year climatic cycles of global warming and cooling "

I think he is right that we should now be more worried about 'global warming' than 'global warming'.

It is another matter that oil disasters must get stopped.
Of course I meant to write:

"we should now be more worried about 'global COOLING' than about 'global warming'."

The natural fluctuations of the temperatures of the earth might be even quite big when the sun radiation is changing.The sun is now having a period of low radiation. If it will continue as many solar scientists have predicated the global temperature of the earth might go down. Maybe even 1 - 2 degrees of Celsius. We don't know. Nobody knows.

About much talked about 'anthropological global warming' I see very little signs.
this is horrible. the government does not want to help stop this error. I would call this an Environmental Terrorism!!!!!
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