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The Morning Plum

* It's hard to overstate how big a day this could be for the left if labor and progressive activists succeed in taking down Blanche Lincoln, a symbol of everything that's wrong with centrist establishment Democrats.

At a time when the Tea Partyers continue to suck up all the media oxygen, a victory over Lincoln would remind the political establishment that they've been missing an equally big story on the other end of the spectrum.

* Here, in a nutshell, are the stakes: More and more liberals are convinced that for all of Obama's reforms, Dem leaders are, on some fundamental level, squandering a rare opportunity for genuine transformation.

Taking down Lincoln, liberals hope, could function as a swift kick in the Dem establishment's butt.

* Obama Anger Watch: On NBC News, our raging president rips into "talking heads" and says he wants to "know whose ass to kick."

I wish Obama hadn't done this, because commentators will now point to it to claim victory: See, we told Obama he needed to show more anger, and now he's listening to us!

* And: Gallup finds that only 40% approve of Obama's handling of the spill. But again, pollsters aren't asking people why they disapprove.

* Here's a quickie guide to today's big races.

* And here's a quickie guide to today's poll-closing times, with handy local weather links.

* If Lincoln does go down, this will be one reason why: A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds anti-incumbent sentiment even higher than in 1994.

* Also watch today: The wrath of the chicken. If Sue Lowden loses her primary to Tea Partyer Sharron Angle, it means Harry Reid is more likely to hang onto his seat.

* A day after Helen Thomas was chased out of the White House press room for good, a few sober colleagues are pausing to consider the larger story here.

* To wit: Katrina Vanden Heuvel pauses to recall Helen Thomas's real legacy: Unlike many media figures, she refused to roll over when Bush rushed us into a needless war that cost thousands of lives.

* And: Dana Milbank concludes that the White House press corps will be "diminished" by Thomas's absence, given her refusal to get too "cozy" with the White House and her "unrelenting" lines of questioning.

* Also in the above link, the fun fact of the day: Thomas was in the White House press room since before the current president was born.

* Things this blog doesn't understand: Why Patrick Buchanan has managed to avoid Thomas's fate.

* And The Washington Times reveals that it's one classy organization with this headline:

Hag Gagged

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 8:40 a.m.: I'd posted the wrong video -- apologies -- so I've replaced it with a write-up of Obama's ass-kicking comments.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 8, 2010; 8:25 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Next: Oil spill threatens Obama's effort to restore trust in government

Comments

Pres Obama gave another quote that is more problematic IMO McClatchy reports that he said he would have fired BP's CEO by now over some of his insensitive and tone deaf comments. I can just about promise you that going forward every time anybody in the administration misspeaks no matter how tame the media will run to ask Obama if they will be fired throwing that quote back at him. And if he says no they will claim that "this isn't change " or something equally stupid

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 8, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

"Obama Anger Watch: On NBC News, our raging president rips into "talking heads" and says he wants to "know whose ass to kick":

He sounds like a doofus.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

All, I had the wrong video posted -- apologies -- so replaced it with a link to a write up of Obama's comments.

...and very true, SG. He's gonna be held "accountable" for this one for some time.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 8, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

I'm not sure this is clear and it really wasn't to me. Obama's moratorium in the Gulf applies ONLY to new drilling, not existing operational deepwater wells. Believe it or not -- I can't -- there are RIGHT NOW 14 deepwater drilling operations in the GOM deeper than 5,000 feet, which was Deepwater's depth. And two of these GOM deepwater operations are run by BP!

http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/offshore/deepwatr/Current_Deepwater_Activity.pdf

Here are a few VERY GOOD QUESTIONS for the Administration:

1. Are the 14 ongoing 5,000 ft plus wells safer than Deepwater was?

2. Are the remedial plans superior to BP's Deepwater operation?

3. And, finally, assuming negative answers to the preceding, why is Obama risking his presidency by allowing these operations to continue?

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Re: AR.

All the Village Experts I saw on TV yesterday subscribe 100% -- surprise surprise -- to the Village Wisdom that Lincoln is being challenged by "outside groups" like organized labor. Last I heard there were quite a few laborers in Arkansas. And not so many CEOs and Directors of Corp Boards, who are Blanche ("I Have Always Depended On The Gullibility Of Strangers") Lincoln's real constituency.

The TV MSM is worse than useless. It is harmful to the body politic.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne

But the thing of it is how can the administration essentially cut off all deepwater drilling when the coastal states still want it both for the revenue and the employment? It's a rock and a hard place situation and as odd as it sounds the people most at risk are probably also the people most against stopping the drilling.

Go figure

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 8, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

From the linked WaPo piece:

"The speakers at the America's Future Now conference that began Monday called for a political uprising independent of the Democratic Party."

I agree. And, especially if Halter wins today, the time is right for movement in that direction.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

From the Annals of Victimhood at NRO...

"While BP tries frantically to stop further damage, here comes the Obama Justice Department to harass its executives with talk of criminal charges"

Posted by: bernielatham | June 8, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, this too. I hope Greg's right about Halter winning, if he does, being a wake-up call to establishment Dems. This centrist, compromising with a party that doesn't want to compromise is making me weary. It's time to move with or without the WH. And I'm like you, completely confused about the offshore drilling moratorium and new safety rules. Every time I think I've found the definitive answer I get snookered.

"Progressive movements must organize independently of Democratic administrations in order to effect change," Borosage said. "That means we have to stop waiting for Obama. We have to stop taking the president's temperature. We have to stop being critics and start being actors once more."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 8, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

"Things this blog doesn't understand: Why Patrick Buchanan has managed to avoid Thomas's fate."

When did Buchanan get a "plum seat" in the WH press room? Indeed, when was it exactly that Buchanan became employed as an ostensibly (put patently fraudulent) "objective" reporter?

I agree with your implication...it is very unfair for Thomas to have lost these posts if Buchanan hasn't too.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 8, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

sgwhiteinfla:

The Gulf states (except for FL), and most especially LA, are owned by Big Oil. LA's politicians across the board -- Jindal, Landrieu, Melancon, Vitter -- they are all -- ahem -- in the tank for the oil companies. LA has been a dysfunctional oil addict for 50 years. LA is at the bottom of almost everything and has the worst schools in the country. No accident there. The oil companies keep LA addicted by giving good cash to undereducated people who would otherwise have no legitimate job prospects. Big Oil has purchased every politician in the state and most of the judged, too. The New Orleans paper of record, the Times Picayune, is as much a Big Oil cheerleader as the corrupt pols.

I say all that to illustrate a point: Obama cannot defer to LA on oil issues. It is like asking a heroin addict to throw away his heroin. LA cannot be trusted on oil issues. And LA may have the right to destroy its own state but it doesn't own the Gulf of Mexico. The GOM belongs to the American people and Obama is the president of all the American people, not just the oil addicts in LA. Obama is the president and has to make the tough decisions even if they anger Mary Landrieu. Or to ask your question another way: How could Obama NOT order GOM deepwater drilling stopped UNLESS and UNTIL there are assurances -- not promises -- that Deepwater can't happen again.

I repeat that Obama is gambling with his presidency here. That may be his decision, stupid as I think it is, but even the president doesn't own the Gulf of Mexico and it isn't his to gamble with. Neither is the coast of FL and I hope your Sen. Nelson reminds Obama forcefully of that fact.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Imsinca:

The link I posted is to the MMS website. The number of ongoing deepwater GOM wells (29) is a fact. I think the Admin has been purposely opaque about this and it isn't hard to see why: Most people would be appalled to know that the exact same thing could happen again in the Gulf and we would be just as unprepared to deal with it. And, like I said, EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY will blame Obama if that happens. And rightfully so.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Pity. Her comments were inarticulately worded - no doubt about it. She's an old woman; damned near ninety. Her words were not anti-Semitic, just a veiled frustration at the undeniable fact that Israel has always been - and always will be - a state surrounded by hostile nations. This is an unchangeable fact - and anyone who believes that tomorrow the surrounding nations will see the light and start to play nice, is dreaming.

I think the point Helen was trying to make was, "Get the hell out of there while the getting is good." Why anyone would want to live in Israel under the present conditions is beyond me - and her, I suppose. Also, lately Israel demonstrated a unique talent for cutting off its nose to spite its face. America's blind support quite often works to our detriment. Those are just the facts.

Still, she now ends a remarkable career. Here's to you, Helen Thomas.

http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

Tom Degan

Posted by: tomdeganfrontiernetnet | June 8, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Helpful tip for real Americans from Bill Kristol...

"Friends, Americans, Conservatives ... Announcing ObamaCareWatch.org
Bookmark this website.

BY WILLIAM KRISTOL
June 8, 2010 7:40 AM

Today marks the launch of what will be an invaluable website for elected officials, candidates, journalists, and, really, all Americans: ObamaCareWatch.org." http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/friends-americans-conservativesannouncing-obamacarewatchorg

You simply cannot go around hurting the profits of big US corporations on the romantic premise that we are our brothers' keepers and thus that suffering ought to be minimized. So you set up lobbyists to run high-profile, well-organized and promoted and hugely funded propaganda operations pretending you care for that little guy who still has a vote.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 8, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Is the left economically illiterate? Apparently yes.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703561604575282190930932412.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 8, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I see Rand Paul has reappeared on FOX. Took me completely by surprise.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 8, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Greg, how long must we put up with these personal attacks? This one is particularly offensive:
============


slave moonbatmollyg:
"I tried to report Bilgeman's comment in an earlier thread that incorporated "slave" as he usually does, and it bounced because the mailbox is full.

This is unacceptable."

Awww, how flattering! The Moonbat Geheim Polizei has assigned me very own Politeness Enforcement Agent!

It's okay, cud-chewer, I understand that your cow-like loins perceive my alpha-male status, and you seek me out for my essence.

Alas, I must deny it to you, and not just because I am a married man, but mainly for the reason that you, as a moonbat mare, are almost by definition, on your best day, a theta-female.

And nothing good could come from our co-mingling, (from MY POV).

I mean, let's face it...at the "Miss America Pageant"....you're the Janeane Garofalo.

So don't bother shaving your legs, toots...t'ain't no-one wants to see YOU in a swimsuit.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 7, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: msmollyg | June 8, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Quoting your own posted policy:
"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site."

Why is it not enforced. Several of us have asked repeatedly.

Posted by: msmollyg | June 8, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

From your own policy:
"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site."

Except that reports of abuse generate a message that the mailbox is full. So it does no good to "Report abuse"

Posted by: msmollyg | June 8, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I went digging through my library yesterday to see if we had any Uris books kicking about and in the process was thinking of Jewish history. The Jews have had, it occurred to me rather belatedly, no more viciously effective and persistent enemy than white European Christians.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 8, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, any idea whether the WH could revoke those GOM leases at this point? There must be some complex legal issues there.

Although at this point I think they could declare such drilling operations "enemy combatants" with confidence.

I'll also be interested to see how the BP disaster begins to split state politics in LA and elsewhere along the coast as tourist and fishing interests battle oil interests. They certainly are at direct cross purposes now and it's not going to be easy to reconcile.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 8, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Great read in the New Yorker:

"These failures weren’t accidents. They were the all too predictable result of the deregulationary fervor that has gripped Washington in recent years, pushing the message that most regulation is unnecessary at best and downright harmful at worst. The result is that agencies have often been led by people skeptical of their own duties. This gave us the worst of both worlds: too little supervision encouraged corporate recklessness, while the existence of these agencies encouraged public complacency.

The obvious problems of graft and the revolving door between government and industry, in other words, were really symptoms of a more fundamental pathology: regulation itself became delegitimatized, seen as little more than the tool of Washington busybodies. This view was exacerbated by the way regulation works in the U.S. Too many regulators, for instance, are political appointees, instead of civil servants. This erodes the kind of institutional identity that helps create esprit de corps, and often leads to politics trumping policy. Congress, meanwhile, often takes a famine-or-feast attitude toward funding, allocating less money when times are good and reinflating regulatory budgets after the inevitable disaster occurs. (In 2006 and 2007, for instance, Congress effectively cut the S.E.C.’s budget, even as the housing bubble was bursting.) This makes it hard for agencies to do consistent work. It also contributes to the sense that regulation is something it’s O.K. to skimp on."

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2010/06/14/100614ta_talk_surowiecki#ixzz0qGkm4WfM

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"any idea whether the WH could revoke those GOM leases at this point? There must be some complex legal issues there."

Obama shut down the ongoing DRILLING operations so I imagine he could shut down the PRODUCING operations as well. I ain't sayin it would be pretty watching Mary Landrieu's head explode, but what is the alternative? Just let things go on as if nothing has changed? Yeesh!

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"And: Gallup finds that only 40% approve of Obama's handling of the spill. But again, pollsters aren't asking people why they disapprove."

I think it's fairly straightforward. This was gonna be a disaster no matter what, but I disapprove of his handling of it because I refuse to believe the current situation is the best anyone could've possibly done.

Also, we progressives are willing to criticize our president and yet still support him overall, be glad we voted for him and plan on doing it again in 2 years.

Republicans mostly approved of Bush's handling of Katrina. They're blind followers. Most of us aren't.

Posted by: SDJeff | June 8, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"I'll also be interested to see how the BP disaster begins to split state politics in LA and elsewhere along the coast as tourist and fishing interests battle oil interests. They certainly are at direct cross purposes now and it's not going to be easy to reconcile."

Yeah, FL is largely against offshore drilling (Bill Nelson especially). Everyone else -- LA, TX, AL, MS -- is for it. Much of that obviously is DeepRed country and, as you see with Haley Barbour, he'll just tell the tourists that there isn't any oil and, if there is, it's GOOD for you because it relaxes the skin. Those GOP pols are so deep in Big Oils pocket that they couldn't find their way out with a flashlight. LA is an especially hopeless case because 1) they don't have much for beaches; and 2) many of the fishers also work in oil (or there friends and relatives do). I just saw the wife of someone who died on Deepwater saying she remains 100% in favor of GOM oil drilling. Like I said, you simply can't reason with addicts.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

O&O, All. Check in later.

GO HALTER!!!!!

Posted by: wbgonne | June 8, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

@wb - thanks for New Yorker link.

Matt Yglesias points to the important aspect of the wikileaks story...

"It’s really no surprise that the Army is interesting in arresting leakers, but it’s a reminder of what weak tea the notion that there can be no prosecutions of Bush administration officials because that would be “looking backwards” instead of forwards is. Investigatory agencies are always looking back, it’s just a question of what they look for. And under Barack Obama we’re basically looking at the things the permanent national security state wants looked into"
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2010/06/u-s-to-look-back-and-prosecute-leaker.php

Indeed.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 8, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"You simply cannot go around hurting the profits of big US corporations on the romantic premise that we are our brothers' keepers and thus that suffering ought to be minimized. "

Razor sharp characterization, Bernie. Real keen thinking. No doubt that is just the intention of this website.

BTW, if you want to be your brothers keeper, no one is stopping you. The trouble with the standard liberal understanding of that cliche (no doubt shared by both you and Obama) is that far from enticing them to actually aid their brothers, they generally view it as license to force others to do the aiding for them.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 8, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I expect Greg will get to this one soon...

"Poll: The sagging popularity of the tea parties
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll includes questions about the tea parties that have the nascent movement's popularity slipping badly. Overall, since the last poll, the percentage of Americans who hold an unfavorable view of the movement has jumped from 39 percent to 50 percent. The leading edge of that has been a collapse in support from 18-29-year-olds. In March, they had a positive, 43-38 view of the tea parties. They've swung hard to a negative view, 27-60." http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-now/2010/06/poll_the_sagging_popularity_of.html#comments

Posted by: bernielatham | June 8, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Gotta disagree with you a little here Greg.

I've spent some time with Barack Obama. On a personal level and professional. This isn't the president caving to the talking heads. This is the president being Barack. I'm glad to see some anger from him. Trust me, it's not to please the talking heads. He stands up for himself. He has his whole life. That's what he's doing here. This is nothing out of the ordinary and nothing the MSM has spun.

http://www.thefoldblog.com/2010/06/angry-black-man-nets-victory-for.html

Posted by: Chris-TheFold | June 8, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

"The trouble with the standard liberal understanding of that cliche (no doubt shared by both you and Obama"

You forgot to mention Jesus.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 8, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I hate to sound too despondent first thing in the morning, but I'm really beginning to think that the Bush Administration has set the United States on a course of permanent decline.

As much as I know and appreciate the Left's agenda, I just don't think the Democratic Party as a whole has a chance against the combination of a GOP party that is willing to lie their way through life on every single issue and a media that obviously doesn't care about facts.

Unless something major changes, I think you can put it in the bank that the United States will not see the kind of peace and prosperity it enjoyed in the 90s, possibly ever again. I just don't see it happening. Maybe 20, 30, 40 years on down the road, but maybe not ever again.

I truly feel sad for our country and its deplorable state (despite Obama and the Dems' best efforts at "change" and cleaning up Bush's messes). Their hearts are in the right place, and I think they are doing great considering, but, as I said, the combo of the GOP and the media, plus a mostly ill-informed populace equates to disaster and stagnation with no end in sight. We truly need a progressive surge, but as we have all said a MILLION times on this blog, we need a functioning media even MORE, and we're just not going to get one, again, anytime soon.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 8, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Voting today in CA. I'll be working on GOTV for Marcy Winograd, but am not really expecting her to beat Harman, never say never though. Whitman and Fiorina look more than just likely to win their primaries and I think we'll see Republican turnout larger than Dems. There's been some speculation that Fiorina may face a run-off but I haven't checked the polls lately because I just don't care. There's some important props on the ballot, but with low voter turnout they'll probably swing the opposite of how I vote. My guy is running uncontested in the Dem primary (Bill Hedrick) but Calvert (R) has a challenger. In a bit of comedy Orly Taitz could actually win the Republican primary for Sec. of State, uggghhhh. Anyway, that's it in a nutshell from So. Cal.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 8, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Here's one bit I found this morning re Whitman from NPR if anyone's interested.

"Meg Whitman, the billionaire fomer eBay chief executive, has spent some $80 million thus far, most of it out of her own pocket, and seems to be increasing her lead in the gubernatorial primary over state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, no slouch in the money department either. Whitman once had a lead in the polls against her presumptive Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown, the state attorney general and former two-term governor. But as Poizner has been hammering at Whitman for being, as he sees it, soft on illegal immigration (he supports the new Arizona law, she opposes it), Whitman has responded to Poizner's attacks by moving steadily to the right. And so while she seems to have dodged a problem in the primary, her advantage over Brown is gone. For now."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 8, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, if Bill Halter wins today you can at least turn your frown upside down for a few minutes. Also maybe have a cocktail with lunch.

lms, thanks for the update. Can't believe Fiorina has managed to limp to the finish line, but then again, consider the competition. And Taitz? She's on the ballot? Them's the crazy.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 8, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Ethan said: "I hate to sound too despondent first thing in the morning, but I'm really beginning to think that the Bush Administration has set the United States on a course of permanent decline."

I know. I began writing my thoughts along this line in response to your post and realized that what I really think is going to bum people out. So I cut it and wrote this graph instead.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 8, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

BG, no one originally took Taitz serious here, but the guy running against her is terrible and we may have just enough birthers here to bring it home for Orly. She'll never win the general, that should be impossible (insert silent prayer), but you can start feeling sorry for me now if I have to watch her ads between now and Nov.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 8, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Will check in later, off to the polls and phone bank for Marcy. Wish us luck out here, yes on props. 13 and 15, no on the rest.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 8, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Lots of luck, lms--have a good day at the phone bank/GOTV!

Posted by: Michigoose | June 8, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"You forgot to mention Jesus."

I didn't take you for one to view Jesus as an authority figure, what with all his claims to "magic" and all. Perhaps you are just an opportunist, appealing to Christian notions only when (you think) it suits your purposes.

In any event, although it's been quite some time since I've been immersed in Catholic education, I don't recall ever hearing that Jesus implored his followers to run for elected office so that they could force others to "do good". I've always understood his teachings to be aimed at action a bit more personal. If you want to feed the poor, then you cook a meal and feed them, you don't pass a law demanding that someone else do so. But hey, as I said, it's been a long time. Maybe someone who is a bit more up-to-date with Christian teaching than I can weigh in. QB? Bilge?

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 8, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, I think when it comes down to it, taken as a whole, our current POPULACE doesn't deserve to be a superpower. Any group of people that survives the Bush Administration, then elects change agents but RESISTS change... It is unsustainable. Ungovernable. Schizophrenic. That sense of inevitability is gone. That sense of striving for a better country is GONE. We are a clueless, mindless mishmosh of selfish, ignorant people. And we are paying the price. My only hope, at this point, is that well-intentioned progressive-minded people hold on to power long enough to keep us from entering not just another "Lost Decade," but in reality, from not entering a "Lost Century" that is marred with oil/energy conflicts, water conflicts, fall-out from climate change and environmental degradation, cyber-terrorism, plus any number of other unseen threats.

It will be the next 10 - 20 years imho that will determine whether or not we as a country or a people are able to sense our place in history as it stands right now and make the dramatic changes necessary for our culture to literally SURVIVE until 2100.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 8, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Interesting link to Arkansas story I received in an email this morning:

http://arkansasmatters.com/news-fulltext/?nxd_id=319175

Posted by: DinOH | June 8, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Your government, rather than pressing to get at the truth, is granting BP a zone of plausible deniability. They are allowing BP to limit observation of the well site and to hold back data crucial to estimating the flow rate.

Change.

Posted by: Papagnello | June 8, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Comment on the Oil Drum:

"One of the mental gymnastic exercises we as individuals and as a nation perform when we don't want to follow up on the implications of uncomfortable information is to label it a conspiracy theory.(for example, the refusal to correctly analyse the physical properties of steel in an open atmospheric flame when providing an explanation for the collapse of the twin towers after 911)

So lets couch this discussion in the form of a hypothesis and a series of testable propositions:

HYPOTHESIS: BP sent rovers to examine the wellhead immediately after the accident, and discovered that there was oil/gas escaping from the seabed as well as from the riser pipe and BOP. It was immediately obvious that the flow could not be stopped until a relief well was drilled because the integrity of the casing had been breached.

Therefore BP elected to provide an ongoing parade of technical "solutions" to create the image that the company was trying its best to stop the flow of oil, knowing full well that this was impossible.

In anticipation of future legal claims for damages, concealing the true volume of oil has been a primary concern, hence the focus upon leaks from the damaged riser pipe.

PROPOSITIONS:
1- Improper cementing of the casing, improper installation, or the force from the blow-out could result in the integrity of the casing being compromised under the sea bed. (True or False?)
2- It is hardly credible that a company with BP's resources would need to 7 weeks to produce and implement three technically flawed and failed methods to partially capture the flow from the wellhead. A reasonable explanation is that the goal has been to create the appearance of effort and stall for time while the relief wells are being drilled.
3- No video was made public of the initial explorations, and all the subsequent video has been close-up shots of the riser pipe or BOP.
4- Once a script has been chosen, it is easy to limit the field of view to areas that conform to the story line.
5- No independent observation of the wellhead area has been permitted. A manned sub capable of diving to twice the depth sits at Woods Hole MD, and the Navy has the capability of being on site with similar technology within a few days of the accident.

CONCLUSIONS:
If 1- is true, then the probability that the hypothesis is correct cannot be ruled out until an independent observation of the wellhead and surrounding seabed is carried out. The hypothesis requires little in the way of conspiracy: indeed it simply assumes that BP is behaving like the economics textbooks say it should and protecting the shareholders and executives financial interests."

Posted by: Papagnello | June 8, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Demand:

an INDEPENDENT OBSERVATION OF THE WELLHEAD NOW.

Posted by: Papagnello | June 8, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Ethan: "I hate to sound too despondent first thing in the morning, but I'm really beginning to think that the Bush Administration has set the United States on a course of permanent decline."

The truth, Ethan, is that it started with Reagan, and the BS that government is the problem. It was greatly exaserbated by the Bush crew, with their coziness with business, croniness and general incompetence.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 8, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

All, check out this polling on the government's handling of the spill:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/are_obamas_efforts_to_restore.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 8, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Papagnello, thanks for that. Wow.

Are the Woods Hole folks saying anything about this? Why aren't the scientists writing op-eds and screaming like mad over their lack of access ad participation?

I think there is some plausibility to this narrative management strategy by BP. But I also don't think shutting off the flow is a simple matter. I'm stunned that more expert analysis hasn't penetrated the media.

If I hear one more word from the punditocracy on this I'm going to puke: it's a hundred Howard Finemans for every scientist.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 8, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Ethan and Suekzoo, I'm going to blame the Kennedy assassination/60s social unrest/Nixon presidency and subsequent resignation. We got ourselves into a mental funk that's taken a generation to come out of, but I think folks my age (late 40s) are the tail-end of the funk. There are those of us that are hopeful and generally liberal/progressive in outlook, and those who are pessimistic and regressive in outlook. Once we get out of power and hand it over to the folks a little younger than us the country will be on an upswing. Look at civil rights concerning the GLBT community for instance. I will grant you that Reagan was a great catalyst for looking back rather than forward, but he followed two nice but ineffectual Presidents who didn't do anything to move us beyond the uncertainty of the 60s and early 70s. Bush I was another nice but ineffectual President. Clinton started out with grand ideas, but then didn't have the courage of his convictions and turned to triangulation. Bush II was a disaster that drove us into the ground. It will take a decade, but I think then we'll be looking up.

Of course, I'm in an optimistic mood this morning. . .

Posted by: Michigoose | June 8, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"it's a hundred Howard Finemans for every scientist."

Yup. Our media is failing this country in too many ways to count.

suekzoo1 and Michigoose, I totally hear what you are saying. I guess, in my mind, Clinton gave it his all, and had some successes but lost out to the corporate influence in the end. But I think Bush took what Reagan started to stratospheric, truly catastrophic levels from Day 1 of his administration. Such that the changes Bush made in coordination from various industries were almost irreparable. But at the end of the day, the fact that opinion media exist today but didn't really exist in the 80s and 90s is what has me so perturbed. I just don't think that any amount of progress will be able to withstand the all-out assault on the facts by the corporate media. And as goes the media, so goes the electorate. It's a vicious cycle to which I see NO end.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 8, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one not able to link to the next thread?

Posted by: Beeliever | June 8, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"a day after helen thomas was chased out of the White House press room for good, a few sober colleagues are pausing to consider the larger story here"

where? no link.

Posted by: skippybkroo | June 8, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"I don't recall ever hearing that Jesus implored his followers to run for elected office so that they could force others to "do good". I've always understood his teachings to be aimed at action a bit more personal."

Well, apparently has it not only been a long time since you've been to a Catholic Church, you didn't pay much attention while you were there:

"For experience has taught us that, unless these authorities take suitable action with regard to economic, political and cultural matters, inequalities between the citizens tend to become more and more widespread, especially in the modern world, and as a result human rights are rendered totally ineffective and the fulfillment of duties is compromised"

"Furthermore, the state has the duty to prevent people from abusing their private property to the detriment of the common good. By its nature private property has a social dimension which is based on the law of the common destination of earthly goods. Whenever the social aspect is forgotten, ownership can often become the object of greed and a source of serious disorder, and its opponents easily find a pretext for calling the right itself into question"

"The riches that economic-social developments constantly increase ought to be so distributed among individual persons and classes that the common advantage of all, which Leo XIII had praised, will be safeguarded; in other words, that the common good of all society will be kept inviolate."

http://www.osjspm.org/the_common_good.aspx

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 8, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

schrodinger:

"Well, apparently has it not only been a long time since you've been to a Catholic Church, you didn't pay much attention while you were there:"

It's true, I fell asleep a lot. But I also wasn't a member of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and they can hardly be trusted to be sensible. I mean, they sent Al Franken to the Senate, for God's sake! Who knows what kind of loony spin they might place on the good book.

I'd rather see it from the source itself. What did Jesus say?

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 8, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

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