Friday, June 18, 2010

Developing A Taste For Sacrificial Lamb

Fig. 1: Oh no, he's gonna cry! Too many visits to the Gulf might cause distraughtness

(NOTICE: Funny, but JUST AS I WAS WRITING THE FOLLOWING, word has come over the Internets that Tone ISN'T SO TOP ANYMORE, but, for historical purposes, I am leaving the original text intact.)

How dreary it would be to be BP CEO Tony Hayward! And not necessarily because of the justified broasting he just received from some very responsibly-performing Congresspeople yesterday. What is obviously a boring personality, with a tedious faux-aristo accent (e.g. bland, no character, etc.), just a haughty, toffee-nosed prig, with pre-moulded hair, capillary-shattered cheeks, and rheumy eyes, yet with a standard ‘fit’ physique that enables him to buy Saville suits right off the rack . . . Well, he just happens to be the perfect whipping doll to prop up in front of such a hearing, so that he can make sedative-assisted replies to pissed off 2-year termers properly held in contempt by such superior persons as the newly distraught ‘n devastated Tip Top Tone Hayward.

(One wonders if they perchance called him Wayward Hayward at school. Oh, probably not. He’s a bore, I tell you. A BORE.)

Oh yes, but I’m sure he’d be a barrel of ‘tony’ laughs once he got a few Pimm’s cups in him, but thank heavens we don’t have to undergo any such vulgarity. It’s a bit of fun poking the barbs at him, but he’s essentially such a crashing bore that the dalliance wears thin in mere minutes rather than half-hours.

Will he become a Lord after he’s sacked? No doubt. With precedents like his predecessor, the scandalous Lord Browne, no doubt, indeed. Loyal readers of this blog know that I am a selective Anglophile, so I feel eminently qualified to proclaim Tony Hayward (even if he had nothing to do with BP and was merely a numbers chap at your neighbourhood Ladbrokes) as The Worst of British.

Of course, why would the puppet-ized ‘leader’ of any creep-corp be a likable, even fun person? BP might just as well have hired Creep Emeritus Paul Dundas Wolfowitz for the job. Nope, part of the New Strategies for corporate mask-wearing is to make the personalities as invisible as possible. It’s all part of Neoconning going underground: dump the attention-getting ego-based personalities and go with the covert stuff, which is where they flourished anyway, before the vanity trip that so effectively sidetracked them.

But to the issue of sacrificing a lamb. I’m not at all referring to Tony, who could be regarded as a sacrificial lamb by the shadows above him, and of course he is easily dismissable as a mere bit player in this whole tawdry drama. Dispensable, certainly. No, I’m talking about the Gulf of Mexico: the lamb sacrificed to enable the collective dumbo-ism in the US to clear, if only by small increments, in order to show the wages of fear and death now being realized by our erroneous ways. You all know what I’m talking about.

If Tony gets his comeuppance, fine. And ‘the others’, too. But remember who and what’s really paying the price here. And no one’s even talking about the effects the mess will/are having on Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Belize, and divers other Caribbean lands. Perhaps there are those who hope the whole slop will be channeled unto the shores of Cuba, so as to unseat the Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyite/Maoist/Mensheviks there. But I don't think that's what will happen.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Shears In The Throat REVISED

Fig. 1: He's safe in Dubai...

Fig. 2: Copycat

Fig. 3: Too Late The Emigrant

For some bizarre reason, today's silly 'semi-demi-victory' of BP's sloppy severance of the mucked-up exhaust pipe down there on the Gulf floor reminds me of a line in the classic Don Knotts comedy, 'The Ghost And Mr. Chicken' (1966), in which the Knotts character, underdog Luther Heggs, is giving a tour of a supposedly haunted house. Pausing before a portrait of the former lady of the manor, who was the victim in a gothic murder-suicide case, Heggs strikes metaphysical certitude in telling the terrified old ladies he's guiding that the lady died from 'SHEARS IN THE THROAT'.

To be clear, this is no indictment of Luther Heggs, who ultimately becomes an admirable hero, despite the fact that he has a menial job in a typesetting room and drives an Edsel. Indeed, 'Chicken' is a sophisticated satire of small town mores and mistrust aimed in wrong directions. Indeed, it carries an anti-corporate, anti-conventionality statement, in which success should be allowed to come from unexpected quarters and from alternative characters.

It is of course a bit of a stretch to align a Don Knotts film with the ongoing disaster in the Gulf, but I have to admit to a distant association of 'SHEARS IN THE THROAT' with BP's ongoing bozo-ness in dealing with their little problem. While Heggs' declaration was simple and conclusive (and, in that little drama, perfectly true), we are being strung along by this oil company, which is barely under control right now, despite the cool, over-produced web videos (none of which actually show the black discharge in any of their pristine animations!), and the blithe statements from CEO on down, all of them positively writhing with deception, as if we couldn't guess. Can we imagine the tension and plotting behind the scenes? I think I can. Right now BP's still riding on the reverence over those who died in the initial blowout, but there will be other victims in there somewhere, when those who were truly responsible will naturally assign guilt to others, hopefully who are conveniently dead.

For media coverage, all I need is Democracy Now! (Link always over there on the left.) I did catch a few snatches from worthless NPR, where the dainty/ditzy morning people, obviously 'weary' of this un-suave story, continue to almost chuckle their way through it, (this being radio, we can't see their smug smiles and feigned seriousness). And then there's disgusting old Blob Siegel on 'All Thinktanks Considered' (coined by b!p!f!b!), whose pursed-lip blabberings have riled this child for what, centuries now. The other day he sounded really disappointed when some scientist told him that the current Gulf disaster IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE MUCH WORSE than the shallow-water mega-leak near Mex-Tex back in '79, the factoid of which The Blob juicily revealed to us with a definite 'relax, the one today isn't so bad' tone, as if he were some petulant teen letting us view - and view only - a secret condom he was jealously guarding, in order to amaze us.

Anyway, I guess I'll have to drop any attempts to link a movie line with the too-awful oil-spill stuff now unfolding. Those mega-shears a mile beneath the waves did indeed make a cruddy cut of a supposedly key pipe, but the rinkydink parade of techno 'solutions' staged by the company ring hollower and hollower. Even if they achieve some sort of 'success', the trashing process is more than complete. Now the avenues lie open for 'investigations' and maybe even show trials.

The US government is of course complicit, but I can't get around the notion that it is Big Oil that tells the government what to do behind the scenes, and not the reverse. With such a permanent mafia-like apparatus in place, it doesn't really matter who the US president is. Whether they cooperate or not, presidents are replaceable - Big Oil interests aren't. George W. Bush was a mere messenger boy for Big Oil, who also happened to be preoccupied with his own vanity - the distraction of which was very convenient for corporate/neocon interests. Can anyone imagine Dubya, even as Pres, standing up to the Big Boys if a little friction developed between them? Of course not. Good little presidents do what they're told, and under a faux 'Democracy' snake-oil act. Indeed, Obama, whether he is a collaborator or not, is vulnerable to become a sacrificial chicken in this affair, a possibility which no doubt pleases many. He made a thoroughly unwise statement of bravado by declaring that HE was responsible for the mess, or at least its management. Yeah, right. I'm sure he's in on all the high-level BP privileges, and is getting his way all the time. And the reality of collaborators in the US Congress and other gov't agencies with Big Oil is so mundane, it need not be referred to again.

Like it or not, Ike's 1960 Military-Industrial Complex speech still resonates, more than ever. Who in power would make such a speech today? And remember, the term 'Congressional' was once publicly included with the 'Military-Industrial' label.

Also remember: as I yak, there's a coupla wars going on too, in two theatres NOT near you. Always good for biz. Disasters of all kinds are always welcome distractions from the misfortunes of war. And it's turning out that Israel's militants are doing their part in keeping the toxic cauldron properly swirling. (But oh the calumny - that is another . . . another story . . .)

As we all know, Big Oil is Big Power. Why would anyone even consider, especially in this desperate age, that Big Power would EVER want to downsize or acquiesce to any intruding influence, especially one of populist proportions?

Finally, a proverbial notion of hope, however obtuse. Back in 1984, most people who were alive at the time had some inkling of what happened in a chemical factory in Bhopal, India. In a catastrophic malfunction, deadly chemicals were dispersed from the factory, killing and injuring hundreds and hundreds (ultimately thousands) of people, mostly the poor and disadvantaged. A perfect entry in the Life Is Cheap Dept. Well, to be brief, Union Carbide, the American corporation responsible, was duly and justly (though not justly enough) eviscerated as a result. While it did not consummately 'go out of business', it was never the same again. Truly, a once mighty corporation was brought low, and for all the right reasons, as those reasons were blatant in the first degree.

A personal addendum: I have in fact passed by that sinister and tragic site in Bhopal twice. In brief discussions with locals, who were nothing but civil, there was nevertheless an accompanying tone of collective guilt which was applied to me, as a native of the land by which Union Carbide was allied. I could not argue with this, nor would I want to. Collective guilt is not a cliche or a convenient assignation. We as consumers of risky corporate products must all review how we want to proceed in living with what we elect to do.

The tragedy of these horrendous events becomes consummately Greek though, for the victims who gave (or give) their vitality or their lives within their effects. Whether ducklings in a coastal marsh, cleanup crews mislead, squatters in a slum near a factory, or life-giving plankton just going about their daily business, MANY SHALL DIE. And I almost forgot to mention the environment itself. Silly me.

BP and their associates stand warned.

PS: We have yet to hear much about Halliburton's involvement in the current oil-change party, but from his extradition-free pet-house in fabled Dubai, H-burton CEO and Cheney-slave Dave 'Davy' Lesar (whose proud portrait so effectively introduces our latest yak), represents what a real winner looks like. But I imagine his pockmarked cheeks are getting pretty darn tired of smiling due to his mockery of the BP biggies for not having had the sense to 'do-the-Dubai' before the cops arrive. Cuz they in a heap 'o trouble.

PPS: I guess it’s rather insipid to add Erik Prince’s ‘gone yellow’ portrait just below the mighty Lesarian face of the sun (both which now grace our yak), but as everybody now knows, Erik The Christian is most likely making a bid to head on over to the candy-ass Elysium of the faux-Muslim UAE (he may choose second-string Sharjah, or even a boot camp in the dunes, instead of now-out-of-fashion Dubai, with its faggy skyscrapers that appeal more to the Dainty Davy-types), so as to rat on out of that stovetop he finds himself on. Go ahead, my Prince, better git a goin’, the brackish water is rising.

PPPS: Tony! Tony! Our poor bland fellow seems to have missed the boat to that further Gulf, as his Styx-like craft is sure to go down in Tex-Mex waters. But he must be considered in a yak all his own, rather than a mere footnote (which is in actuality what he is) at the bottom of this yak’s Davy Jones lock-up.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

When Power Tools Jam

As anyone who's ever used a circular saw knows, when cutting a pipe, you risk binding the blade when the bit that hasn't been cut yet shifts in order to compensate for the bits that have been removed by said blade.

I saw BP's miracle-making diamond circular cutter in its stalled position, after the feeble attempt to cut the top pipe of the Horizon oil-cum-gas hemorrhage, supposedly to prep it for capping. We know that they knew it was going to fail, because experienced circular saw users know that you have to approach cutting such a pipe from more than one angle. Is this bozo carpentry, or what?

Whatever Dark Purpose this mega-blunder is part of, we can easily conclude that it is fully integrated with what Naomi Klein has correctly identified as The Shock Doctrine, and thus is uniform with the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, as well as every other bonafide Neocon strategy now in play in the world.

After their public disgraces, the Neocon players have gone into the deep shade, so as to reorganize, become smarter, and less dependent on their egotistical publicists. Their acts are now played out on oceanic floors, behind cooperative media outlets, well away from the formerly-sexy limelight, fully utilizing the deceptions of 'Beyond Petroleum' and soft-sell words like 'sustainability' and the particularly effective posture of painting their facades ersatz green.

Let the pinwheels like Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Co. (remembah them, kids?) float in the Viagra-dependent prestige of think-tanks. In the meantime, a newer, smarter, leaner neo-Neocon management has assumed control of the edifice. And they mean to win this time - and stay won.