Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Stories they Tell

The story we hear from the mainstream news media is that the Deepwater Horizon blowout is an unusual and rare event. An entire McClatchy article was devoted to this idea. I had an extremely frustrating conversation with someone who refused to believe that blowouts were a common occurrence in the Gulf of Mexico. I was asked why it wasn’t in the news. So you see if it wasn’t in the main stream news then it is highly suspect. How ironic that the opposite is actually closer to the truth.

The McClatchy article referred to a MMS report on blowouts where at least it did mention the part of the report warning of blowouts and fire but I saw no mention of the following from the Houston Chronicle:


Investigators with the U.S. Minerals Management Service raised concerns three years ago about oil rig blowouts associated with cementing wells, noting that accidents were continuing with regularity, most in the Gulf of Mexico.

Though the cause of last week's explosion on the Deepwater Horizon remains under investigation, officials with Transocean have said a blowout within the deep oil well was likely to blame for the deadly blast. At the time of the accident, crews were �cementing,� or installing casing to secure the walls of the well.

A 2007 MMS study found that although blowouts with offshore drilling operations were becoming less frequent, less deadly and less polluting, cementing-associated troubles persisted.

Cementing problems were associated with 18 of 39 blowouts between 1992 and 2006, and 18 of 70 from 1971 to 1991. There were 17 blowouts in the earlier period where contributing factors weren't identified.

Nearly all the blowouts examined occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

It took me all of ten seconds to find the above article that makes a mockery of Obama’s blatant lies that the blowouts are rare and if I could find it on the internet what the hell is wrong with McClatchy? I used to think McClatchy was a bit better than the NYT or the WaPo but I’m beginning to wonder. Actually it seems obvious that they are covering for Obama. Obama was instrumental in pushing through BP’s permit to drill where they are drilling, in an area known for numerous blowouts, at a depth that is unprecedented, by a company with a history of criminal violation of environmental law, in fact Obama granted BP a waiver for a legally required environmental impact study which in light of the MMS report would most certainly have nixed BP’s permit to drill a mile down. McClatchy didn’t mention that either.

Sometimes I wish people were just a little more curious about the stories we are told. I wish people would stop idolizing others who write rather well and start thinking for themselves, form their own opinions, look to corroborate the lies they are told. Sorry about that, just wishful thinking.


At June 15, 2010 4:13 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Rob, I'm glad you're keeping on top of this aspect of the story. I hate to say the more I learn about the current administration, the more it seems that BHO has deliberately fashioned himself after GWB, and relatively few people see it.

As far as the perceptions of ordinary people go, I'm beginning to think there's a strong correlation with simply being a regular voter, whether D or R, and having an insufficiently critical view of our public institutions, and it seems to transcend things like race or class or level of education.

I wonder sometimes, if polls of "likely voters" are deliberately designed to skew public opinion that way, both in the results and the reinforcing effect of people knowing the poll results.

At June 15, 2010 4:45 PM, Blogger Jay Taber said...

Nice catch. Open source research is an effective but vastly underutilized tool.

At June 15, 2010 8:33 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jonathan,

Yes, Obama has taken Bush policy and adopted it for himself and I agree not enough can see that. I also agree about people not being critical of our institutions, in a way it’s a form of laziness or lazy thinking. It’s so easy to turn on the TV and watch the News hour where they repeat word for word what our leaders say. It’s not terribly informative.

Hi Spartacus,

Nice to hear from you, --underutilized is a good way of putting it. Right now it’s not a threat to the elite but if it ever became one I wonder how long the internet would stay as it is.

At June 16, 2010 3:59 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

And after the commentators "repeat word for word what our leaders say," most of my friends repeat THAT word for word. They seem never to question or challenge what they see and hear on netwwork "news." If I mention anything contrary, I get blank stares and even shocked recoils. When will people ever decide to examine ideas and beliefs instead of swallowing them whole?

At June 16, 2010 9:24 AM, Blogger Jay Taber said...

Overcoming indoctrination from school and TV requires an inquisitive mind. Sometimes that happens as a result of a dissonant experience, sometimes by hearing someone else relate theirs. Showing others by example is best, as in this post.

Before the Internet, I occasionally walked down to city hall and the county courthouse to gather evidence from public records, which my friends and I would then use to make flyers, ads, and articles to influence elections and public policy. People were astounded by how effective this was.

Decades later, we put the lessons we learned online at http://www.publicgood.org/

At June 16, 2010 4:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Mimi,

It’s the power of culture, culture says the main stream news is legitimate so it is in the minds of many. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for people to become more curious. Of course, whenever I read an Obama quote I find myself holding my breath, …and my nose.

Hi Spartacus

I think that’s an excellent point about the flyers because in the end to make even a small change, you can’t do it sitting in front of a computer screen. I rather suspect that the imperial phase of the U.S. will likely have to play itself out which is too bad but the control exerted now by the ruling class is fairly complete. The question remains, how will the empire end, will it plunge what’s left of the U.S. into the abyss or can we make the end as least destructive as possible. Simply replacing governments doesn’t work since whatever replaces it is most likely to be worse than what there is now. Our culture produces the monsters who lead us therefore it’s the culture that needs to change on a fundamental level, or so it seems to me and that’s going to take lots of time.

At June 16, 2010 6:35 PM, Blogger Jay Taber said...

I have found that raising consciousness and subverting spectacle are intimately connected. Transforming culture using research as an organizing tool is a tradition founded in the Civil Rights Movement, which only succeeded by supporting rather than trying to lead communities in resistance.

The reason I illustrate my experience from a local civic engagement perspective, is because the power to change things starts at the neighborhood level. Practicing the skills needed to do that effectively and building networks of solidarity as a self-defense measure is foreign to most people, largely because they have never tried anything.

We learn from experience, not from TV.

At June 16, 2010 7:28 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Jay, I know there's a world beyond blogging, but sometimes it seems hard to connect to it, apart from via the internet.

At June 16, 2010 7:49 PM, Blogger Jay Taber said...

Blogging and the Internet are immensely useful, and I don't suggest everyone can or should be an activist. Researchers, analysts, and activists need to work together to succeed.

I do find it necessary to remind people that research, education, and organizing are prerequisites to effective action; that and the strategy of helping others who are fighting back rather than trying to get those unprepared for action to mobilize.

Our discussions are hopefully helpful in that preparation.

At June 16, 2010 8:39 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Cultural change also needs to be considered at the level of how and what children are taught and not just in schools. If we raise children the way we were raised then nothing changes. For an extreme example the Israeli children are taught that the world hates them, everyone is an enemy, and they are turned into the kind of monsters we saw attacking the aid workers in the relief flotilla for Gaza. We’re not much different from the Israeli as witnessed in our volunteer army there are plenty of Americans willing to kill.


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