Wednesday, June 23, 2010


“I’m just waiting for the detergent.”

I’ve known for years that I was living in a different world from people like the BP corporate hierarchy, but now it seems that we occupy radically different dimensions of reality. While I watch the death of the Gulf and maybe the oceans of our planet, BP turns the clean-up locations into their own corporate police state, buys judges, and – even as their robot submarines fuck up – tries, with a blank self-pity, to convince us that all is just hunky dory. This is double-think taken to criminal extremes, and I would liken it to the mindset of a gulag guard, but I’d risk sounding like Glenn Beck. I wish I didn’t feel these things the way I do. They hurt. This is from The Wall Street Journal, usually the good-buddy of all things corporate…

“Last weekend, Tony Hayward left for a yacht outing two days after a very public crucifixion on Capitol Hill. So was this a sign that he is a born optimist, convinced things can only get better — or simply an admission that he might as well enjoy himself for a couple of days given he’s likely to lose his job over the oil spill disaster in any case? Retaining an upbeat tone, in an email to staff last Friday, Hayward again pledged to “get [BP] through the immediate crisis as a stronger and safer company.” That was after a week that saw a congressional grilling, credit downgrades to just above junk status, a pledge to pay $20 billion into a cleanup and compensation fund and a freeze in dividend payouts for the rest of 2010. But in Planet BP — a BP online, in-house magazine — a “BP reporter” dispatched to Louisiana managed to paint an even rosier picture of the disaster. “There is no reason to hate BP,” one local seafood entrepreneur is quoted as saying, as the region relies on the oil industry for work. Indeed, the April 20 spill on the Deepwater Horizon is being reinvented in Planet BP as a strike of luck. “Much of the region’s [nonfishing boat] businesses — particularly the hotels — have been prospering because so many people have come here from BP and other oil emergency response teams,” another report says. Indeed, one tourist official in a local town makes it clear that “BP has always been a very great partner of ours here…We have always valued the business that BP sent us.” Fortunately the articles — on which BP declined to comment — don’t go as far as praising that new treat: seasonal shrimps in (crude) oil. It ain’t all whistling-along on Planet BP, though. The reports mention consumers being “afraid all seafood might be contaminated” and the uncertainty over the region’s economic future. To be sure, Hayward and BP are right to reassure their staff — they are not aboard the Titanic just yet. The company’s average production of 2.5 million barrels a day in liquids, would make it third in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries if it were a government. Its sales and other operating revenues stood at $239.3 billion in 2009 — larger that the gross domestic product of Nigeria. And BP only has 80,000 mouths to feed. But if Hayward is looking on the bright side of life, it’s only from afar for now. An army of lawyers and regulators are examining whether he was nailed for other people’s sins — or for his own.”

The secret word is Impossible 

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