Wednesday, June 02, 2010

When Love is Never Having to Say You’re Sorry, What’s the Flip Side?

If the impacted Gulf states had a BP billion for every time its colonial Maharajah CEO Tony Hayward opened his mouth to apologize for something stupid and outrageous he said … First, it was the proverbial “tiny” drop in a “very big ocean.” So tiny, in fact, that it can be seen from space in all its sickening killing zone bigness. This is a NASA photo of the BP Gulf disaster –- the grayish-beige is the BP oil hemorrhage spreading death and destruction in every direction. This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions that could threaten life itself on this planet:

Then, in the midst of BP’s crime Hayward whines about wanting “my life back,” anticipating the 15% cratering of BP stock, perhaps, and the loss of some of his significant personal fortune:

What about the lives that were lost on that rig, Mr. Hayward? What about the livelihoods of millions of Gulf state residents irreparably damaged and destroyed, and what about the wanton destruction and killing of millions of animal and marine species, for generations, by BP’s criminal corporate greed? Tony was quick to apologize. Again.

It’s difficult to select the single most despicable thing Hayward has said, but this one, because it is so callous and disdainful of the human lives of the oil cleanup workers -- slowly poisoned by chemical toxins released into our environment by BP to die of untreatable disease and cancers, out of sight and out of mind -- is the cold BP calculation of the worthlessness of human life when pitted against the “life” and survival of BP as the corporate entity right wing extremists on the Supreme Court have declared to be a “person.”

Food poisoning? Hayward’s calculated disinformation was dismissed by an expert on foodborne illness, Dr. Michael Osterholm, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “Headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds — there’s nothing there that suggests foodborne illness. I don’t know what these people have, but it sounds more like a respiratory illness.” Despite BP’s propaganda, which tries to paint Corexit as an upscale beauty product –- “a second ingredient is used in a brand-name dry skin cream and also in a body shampoo” (does BP plan to market Corexit shampoo?) –- the label tells a different story:

Corexit 9500 is a solvent originally developed by Exxon and now manufactured by Nalco of Naperville, Illinois. Corexit is four times more toxic than oil (oil is toxic at 11 ppm (parts per million), Corexit 9500 at only 2.61ppm). In a report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. titled “Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview,” Corexit 9500 was found to be one of the most toxic dispersal agents ever developed. And it becomes even more toxic when mixed with the higher gulf coast water temperatures.

Activist attorney Mike Papantonio reported that the Davis-Bacon Act which sets prevailing wages in the locality for government contract workers was suspended, and BP has been hiring Mexican labor at below the minimum wage for the cleanup. These workers are being deliberately denied protective clothing and respirators, required for work around hazardous materials, because the “optics” of workers dressed in space suits would be bad for the company’s image.

This comes on the heels of BP hiring Dick Cheney’s former press secretary, Anne Kolton, to head up its PR effort. It wouldn’t surprise if one of Kolton’s first decision in her new role was to condemn those Mexican laborers to horrible premature deaths by denying them protective gear.

Cheap labor. Expendable human lives. Out of sight, out of mind. That is the corporate way. Is there any chance, Mr. Attorney General, any chance at all, that we can put Tony Hayward in leg irons and handcuffs? We’ll take “community work” for the corporate executives responsible for this epic disaster. They should be forced to work the cleanup side-by-side with their expendable laborers, without protective clothing and gear. Tony Hayward would be forced to seek asylum in the British Consulate.

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