The Horrible Gulf Oil Spill Reality versus the Energy Tomorrow Pantsuit

Let us contrast reality to the fantasy that Big Oil projects for us on our television screens. I have long despised the character of the lady in pantsuits, played by Brooke Alexander, who assures us, in the Energy Tomorrow ads, that we really, really need Big Oil’s products. Yeah, like we need a hole in the head. I think Ms. Alexander, who used to play a con artist on As the World Turns, should be required, while speaking, to be smeared with black oil– sort of like Shakira in “La Tortura”– instead of showing off that crisp and supercilious outfit.

I am fit to be tied that President Obama seems to have fallen under that baleful character’s spell, and is planning to vastly expand the scope of offshore drilling— setting us up for more environmental catastrophes, both from spills and again when the stuff is burned and enters the atmosphere as carbon.

So here is the coverage of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by PBS’s Lehrer Newshour, noting that as much as 5,000 barrels a day could be spilled onto the shoreline— killing fish, wildlife, beaches, tourism, and adding insult to injury for many coast families who have still not recovered from Hurricane Katrina.

BP’s first-quarter profits this year, by the way, rose to $6.1 billion from $2.6 billion in 2009!

Contrast that report to this Energy Tomorrow commercial (paid for by the American Petroleum Institute), which plays the following tricks:

1. By saying we need energy from “all” sources, it implies that hydrocarbons must be part of the mix and are as desirable as alternative green energy. But this is a lie, at least in the long term.

2. It ignores the enormous damage to the environment caused by pumping more carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

3. It alleges that Congress has put “much” of US energy resources out of play for development. But all offshore petroleum in the lower 48 if it were drilled could only supply about 400,000 barrels a day of oil. In a good economy the US uses 20-21 million barrels a day, so all that offshore drilling would yield a mere drop in the bucket. That isn’t “much.”

4. It ignores the ways in which increased fuel efficiency would actually reduce US dependence on foreign oil far more than offshore drilling would. PRNewswire notes in connection with the Mercedes Benz hybrid, “According to the EPA, the nation would save 1.4 million barrels of oil a day if just one third of all light-duty vehicles in the USA were state-of-the-art diesel vehicles.”

5. It ignores the environmental damage to beaches and wildlife and tourism of the inevitable oil spills.

BP, by the way, is British Petroleum, a descendant of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The Iranian parliament asked for a better deal from the AIOC in the late 1940s and early 1950s (they wanted a 50/50 cut of the profits, which was what ARAMCO offered Saudi Arabia). The AIOC absolutely refused. In response, the Iranian parliament nationalized the AIOC holdings in 1951. It was in order to restore Western Big Oil to its Iranian holdings that the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953, putting the shah back on the throne as a megalomaniacal capitalist dictator and puppet of Washington. The enraged Iranian public overthrew the shah in 1978-79, establishing the Islamic Republic that has been a thorn in Washington’s side ever since. So, BP’s earlier arrogance helped produce our current crisis with Iran, just as it’s current incompetence has produced the massive Delaware-sized oil slick now devouring Louisiana.

9 Responses

  1. Interesting factoids: Premier Mosedegh of Iran was Time Magazines 1951 Man of the Year in 1951, after coming to the US, and failing to get our support against Brit petro-imperialism. The accompanying article is as condescending a bit of poison-pen lobbying for intervention as ever passed for journalism. Time has the cover pic and the text online. The overthrow of Iran’s democratic legislature in 1953 was engineered by Kermit Roosevelt, TR’s grandson, in the brave new world of John Dulles and the new American National Security State. Dulles was Man of the Year in 1954.

  2. To add insult to injury, BP just shut down it’s solar cell manufacting operation in the USA and laid off most of the US workers.

    BP Solar has shut down operations at its silicon wafer manufacturing plant in Frederick, Md., eliminating 320 jobs there.

    link to bizjournals.com

  3. In response to your statement “I am fit to be tied that President Obama … planning to expand offshore drilling…” – Juan, this is just a plan – it by no means constitutes a go-ahead decision to open up offshore drilling. By pursuing a planning phase – in public – we will all benefit by seeing the risks and associated costs of mitigation. So the cost/benifit is in black-and-white – on paper so to speak and the facts should speak for themselves. I think this is a good approach – without it we would have a bunch of hot-heads running around tossing politically charged rhetoric as if they knew what they were talking about.

  4. No, Juan is absolutely right. Obama has repeatedly treated the extreme right-wing positions as if they are reasonable, and by so doing so has shown himself to be weak, malleable, and without principal. We didn’t elect him to be another Bush – we elected him to fix some of the damage done by Bush. Instead we get crap like his health care plan without a public option (which is the only part of that legislation that could have saved money), we get escalation of our unwinnable wars, we get more black-site torture, we get further erosion of our civil liberties, we get him backing down on Israel. And now we get his parroting Palin’s “drill-baby-drill”. Truly disgusting.

    As for Ms Alexander, who grew up and now lives in Hawaii in an ultra-expensive beach front estate paid for by Big Oil, I wonder how she would like it if her beach-front property was covered with the oil slick that will soon be Louisiana. My favorite of her commercials is this one: link to youtube.com “Advanced Subsea Technology” where she smugly assures us how clever and safe these undersea oilwells are – along with the requisite school of animated fish happily swimming past all the oilwells.

  5. A US or UK government or business take responsibility for its own actions? Are you nuts?

    Responsibility is for “them”. “We” have impunity.

  6. I’ve long despised these commercials and am glad to see I’m not alone.

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