Monday, May 03, 2010

The Flower of Death Gets Bitchslapped

I spent Saturday interviewing (video) some folks in Barataria whose livelihood is about to be wiped out. One of the shrimpers I spoke with told me what happened at the BP Meeting last Friday when BP tried to push this asinine contract on our fisherman.

Aside from the damages cap ($5000), BP was trying to require all boat captains to carry their own worker's comp and insure their own deckhands. They were trying to offer each boat, $1500/day, for the entire crew on the boat...a meager sum when the pie is divided.

On top of that, they expected the boat captains to front the expense of their own fuel costs...oh, the irony...a fuel company who can't supply fuel. When one of the captains asked what the pay cycle would be: 30, 60, 90 days, BP refused to answer. You have to understand that some of these boats can consume 20k in fuel in a month, that's a hell of lot of cash to subsidize BP's cost in cleaning up this fucking mess.

They also slipped in a non-disclosure clause in the contract to try and ensure the fisherman wouldn't speak about anything they saw. It appears BP has a lot to hide.

Overall, BP was trying to get any boat captains who take employment with them in the cleanup efforts to relinquish their basic legal rights.

Krewe of Truth reports that New Orleans attorney Stuart Smith and the Oil Disaster Recovery Group legal team called an emergency hearing in federal court and forced BP to nullify any signed contracts they received on Friday.

The shrimper I spoke with said many of the fisherman signed the 15 page document without even reading it as they assumed it was a standard work contract which oil companies regularly dispense. He said many of the fisherman were clamoring over each other to try and get their contract in the BP reps' hands first, thinking that would give them a better chance of getting hired. He said one of the BP reps then stated, "there's no guarantee we will hire any of you." At that point about half of the room got up and walked out.

I will be posting the video I shot on Humid Beings as soon as we can get it together, hopefully Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

F*ck, f*ck, f*ck what sleezy jerks to draft contracts like that and to bring them into a room of desperate people with kids to feed!

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Thanks youz, Ashe. I was beginning to think like that guy in the movie Network.
This Sucking BP Teat has got to STOP/
Sorry I got to this one late today. We hung you and I will carry it into tomorrow.
I have copious rant on the Ladder about this BPPR corporate press.

Jindal actually has the State Constitutional Power to Arrest these Perps.
Aricle 1 Section 1:
Section 1. All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded on their will alone, and is instituted to protect the rights of the individual and for the good of the whole. Its only legitimate ends are to secure justice for all, preserve peace, protect the rights, and promote the happiness and general welfare of the people. The rights enumerated in this Article are inalienable by the state and shall be preserved inviolate by the state.
Article IV,
5. Governor; Powers and Duties
(J) Commander-in-Chief. The governor shall be commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the state, except when they are called into service of the federal government. He may call out these forces to preserve law and order, to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or in other times of emergency.
[That is a sticky wicket from when Bush tried to Federalize the entire State during Katrina, holding back needed Armed Support unless Blanco (sp:) relented which she did not and the rest is ugly history]
Jindal does indeed command our National Guard, but only those who have not been Federalized for the War Effort. Some of your more savvy readers I hope can set me straight before I start on my 2nd 5th.


I do not understand why BP Execs are allowed to traipse around the MSM doing PR or WHY we are treating BP as if they are Good Guys who simply got screwed like the rest of us. That reminds me of the Corps oft'spewed meme that "We Live Here Too."
That argument didn't hold water in the levees and it doesn't hold oil here.
It has really gotten on my nerves to see Geologists and the like who work for This Industry coming to their defense, saying that the Energy Industry is Anal About Safety. BPBS.
Read Dupont's essays on Safety and Profit.
Tell it to Nuremberg, you punks.

Anonymous said...


BP is being allowed to conduct these PR excursions in the MSM unchecked largely because the folks who should be holding down the counter-narrative are playing it with gross stupidity.

The hardwired instinct of the anti-big-oil crowd is to use this disaster as an attack on all oil production. What should be obvious to anyone is that "environmentalits are anti-oil" is not a story. The SUV-driving public doesn't want to hear a bunch of hippies telling them this oil leak means they should use less gas. So - no counter-narrative in the MSM.

The SMART play would be to call this out for what it really is: the inevitable result of BP's long-standing horredous track record on health, environment, and safety issues. THAT story will get picked up because it generates public outrage...which generates ratings. Plus, BP has no credible defense for this attack; their safety track record is much, much worse than the industry as a whole.

Making this about BP does exactly what we want - holds their feet to the fire and generates public outrage to ensure fairer treatment of fishers and bigger fines from the feds. Making it about big oil only brings intelligent people from elsewhere in the industry to BP's defense at a time when isolating BP is the very best play.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Good point, Anonymous 10:17.

Overreaction is counterproductive. There is no way the US stops drilling, or even enforces a drilling moratorium for long (and this will be true no matter who is President).

Focus on clean-up, safety, redundancy, and smarter production. That grounds the arguments heavily in a reality that "arrest everyone," while cathartic, ignores. After that, the hows of moving our society away from fossil fuel dependency may find more receptive ears.

Oh, and Damabala - it looks like Slate talked to the same folks you did.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Anon, thanks for that.
I have fairly consistently re-titled ALL of my ledes "BP Oil Disaster" for this reason.
I have tried hard to not fall into that meme of Bad Oil, Bad Energy etc. I have several family members in this industry.
However, I am advancing the counter-meme that: we must have Big Energy in order to evolve.
That is unmitigated BS Freidmaniacal Disaster Capitalism.
There is an emergent conflict in America right now as to whether we are in fact National Socialists or a Representative Democracy of Capitalists. I am leaning towards the former.

My regular comment in articles and blogs across the country is this: "I don't care how someone else profits as long as they don't shit in my mouth in the process."
That has Always been my take. Technology by definition makes itself cheaper. It is called (by Bucky Fuller) the Process of Ephemeralization. By its very existence Technology makes itself more efficient, cheaper.
During the Flood, I saw what happens when modern Americans are confronted with No Technology, no sewage, no nothing, but the lack of sewage is the Big Deal. I prefer indoor plumbing.

But on the other hand I see Cancer as the ultimate expression of unbridled Economy of Scale.
American Capitalism has Cancer, killing our citizens with Replicant Ideology in myriad ways, and I refuse to turn my back on that cognitive dissonance.

The prevailing Lede is "Gulf Oil Spill".
You will rarely see the word Disaster connected to BP.
This is No Accident and worth considering in that the level of PR in operation here is several orders of magnitude greater than what we are used to with the Corps of Engineers (which is formidable btw). I have counted 4 major Mutli-national PR corporations involved in this cover-up/spin.
Hell I'm listening to them work it right now on NPR (which sold out to Velvetta long ago).
That is not counting the smaller PR contracts being let in each of the 5 Gulf states effected.
BP is the Good Guys.
They are working so hard.
This isn't Their Accident.
They are doing Open Heart Surgery at 5000ft!
Open Heart Surgery!
They are like Surgeons!
BP has Always had Only Our Best Interests in mind!

We live in a country where Public Relations Firms can Easily influence our legislation.
Easy as wiping your ass with Charmin.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Cousin Pat, I am not part of your blogging club. Thus I have no problem calling out your bourgeois naivete.

I say arrest the Executives. Confiscate their passports.
Seize their assets here in Louisiana.
We will in the end have to deal with this ourselves anyway. BP has no intention of honoring their commitments any more than Exxon did in Alaska.
It is a No Brainer that we must focus on clean-up. Of course.
But we need to put these perps in jail until the Fat Lady Sings here.
They broke the forking Law.
And as we speak, continue to Lobby Expensively to Change That Law.
We are way out-gunned here.
We should take complete control of this operation as a Nation.
We are Americans. We don't bow to the English.
What they did in our Gulf is Illegal in 14 countries.
And you would argue to let them handle their own mistake?
Ha! Try that one on the Corps of Engineers. They'll love you.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Cousin Pat,
take it to the Bank:
$249,813,232 spent lobbying Congress since 1990
Right, y'all just keep focusing on cleaning up their mistakes.
You're gonna need the expertise!

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

And btw, who in the world would think my suggestion of Arresting BP Execs is anything but preposterous venting?
How can someone not miss my sarcasm?
Are we becoming a Nation of Sheep Pundits?
Valdez AL wasn't enough. Ok
Bhopal wasn't enough. OK.
Mountain Top Mining isn't enough OK.
The decimation of the Florida Everglades isn't enough. OK.
The fragility of our Capitalist Infrastructure isn't enough. OK.
The Flooding of New Orleans wasn't enough. OK.
Jeez. I not only don't Bow, I don't freaking Bend Over at all.
"They do it because we let them." ~Anon.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

[Focus on clean-up, safety, redundancy, and smarter production. That grounds the arguments heavily in a reality that "arrest everyone," while cathartic, ignores.]
Right, Cousin Pat.
Smarter Production.
And who will do this "Smarter Production"????
British Petro? Exxon? Saudi Arabia? China? Freeport Mack MoRan? Who?
Come on, this is getting silly.
Been there, done that and now we got no seafood and next year will have even less coasts to protect us from hurricanes!
I really don't understand the concept here: trust the Corps of Engineers which worked out really well 8/29/05.
Trust the Oil Industry? Well that has worked out just fine if you're allergic to seafood, coastlines and the basic raison d'etre of Mew Orleans.
You take Louisiana away from New Orleans and You Got NOTHING.

If it makes y'all feel any better, the Word Thingy Formicator (WTFr) for this comment?
No kidding. Really.
For what it's worth which is nothing if you can't have Louisiana Oysters.

Anonymous said...

@pat- there is no smarter oil production. Disasters are a part of the industry, not despite the industry.

No amount of off shore drilling could come close to our obscene oil need, which is the greatest on earth per capita. Yet, the fatties continue to buy and drive their fat SUVs.

Thus the risk of environmental and economic disaster is not worth the minor gain. California's governor realizes this - he no longer supports off-shore.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Anon 11: I absolutely want our society to become more walkable and less auto/oil dependent. But it isn't like we're going to become an oil-free society overnight. And we're not going to get there by calling people names. We live in a representative republic, which means we have to deal with people who live very different lifestyles, believe very different things and vote in very different ways.

Barring an overnight paradigm-change of American culture (and no - the Macondo spill will have an affect, but not that effect), we must find safer ways to drill, because we are not going to stop drilling. Neither here nor abroad.

You can keep gnashing your teeth about that reality, or you can actively work to change it, accepting that it will be a long road.

And California may have extended their current moratorium, but that will last only until the next governor gets voted in.

Anonymous said...

anon at 7:11,

You may be right, but this rhetoric is so tired that you might as well have just posted "Standard Environmental Response #156" and left it at that. This kind of sleep-inducing invective is exactly what I was talking about in the 3rd comment.

eric said...

Were's the Material Safety Data Sheet on the Dispersants? Has any body taken samples be for and after the dispersants have been injected? What has happen to the pollutants in the oil ie Heavey Metals and all the hydro carbons?
Did the suddenly disappeare. When this treated oil starts to rise to the surface and washes ashore will BP still claim responsibility are will the try and fuck us like they tryed to do to the fisherman?

It seems that they are playing the out of sight out of mind game with the people of La. and the DEQ isnt watching our back. Just rember BP wil try and shuck their obligation for doing a proper clean-up at all cost.

This is how I see this playing out in court. The rig is not in state waters its in the US contugis zone.
When the stats try to sue it will be moved to the Federal courts were the fines will start out in the hundreds of millions and end up costing BP little or nothing because BP will argue that everthing they did was with the blessing of FEMA.

I see our govt. and BP having the attuded that we are all just stupid down here and will belive anthing the say or do.

Never trust the GOVERNMENT or BIG CORP. It's all about the money.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Here you go, Eric:

Anonymous said...

Great post, Eric.

Greg Palast, well known to people who care about Louisiana from his "Big Easy to Big Empty" doc, has also taken a look at the aftermath of Exxon Valdez.

I think you can get to it from his site. It is also on YouTube.

Reading your post, it was depressing to think that they will fight about jurisdiction, but of course they will.

My head hurts thinking about all the things that are wrong.

The word verification is "shelhom", which is almost Shalom. Peace.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

I think we haven't "lived in a representative republic" since at least 2000 (Bush Coup), if not 1980 (Reagan) and even further back since we gave Corporations the same Legal Standing as Individual US Citizens.
As for "calling people names", I was taught to call Evil by its name and face it when it comes.