Information of Interest

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Deepwater Capitalism

In September of 2009, the BP corporation dug the deepest oil well in history. The 35,055-foot deep Tiber prospect, 300 miles off the Texas coast, promised six billion barrels: one of the largest oil fields ever discovered in the country. So of course, they kept looking for more: They moved their massive drilling rig named Deepwater Horizon fifty miles south of the Louisiana coastline, to a prospect called Macondo, named after the setting of the famous book 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez.

On April 20, 2010, as they began to seal the well, something went wrong: a mix of oil and gas escaped, rushing up through earth and water, blowing up the Deepwater Horizon, and killing eleven workers, whose bodies were never recovered. Over the next eighty seven days, the whole world watched as over 200 million gallons of oil erupted from the ocean floor into the Gulf of Mexico.

It was the largest oil spill in history – more than ten times the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. The images of animals covered in oil began to haunt our screens again, and the scale of death was so great it still seems impossible to quantify – estimates of the number of birds killed within the first hundred days ranges between 100,000 and one million. But the real nightmare was offshore, as riptides and hired hands collected thousands of animal carcasses into “death gyres”. Riki Ott explains:

“Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen managed to get the only footage of what I came to call the ‘death gyres.’ the rip currents that collected dead animals offshore. The Incident Command – BP and the US Coast Guard – kept the media 1,500 feet up in the air so the press couldn’t really capture the situation there. The animal carcasses were corralled, taken out to sea, and dumped at night, according to fishermen who were involved with so-called ‘Night-time Operations.’ Offshore workers reported ‘thousands of dolphins, birds too numerous to count, sea turtles too numerous to count,’ and even whales in the death gyres.” (Earth at Risk, Building a Resistance Movement to Save the Planetedited by Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith, p. 49)

Five years later, what can we say?…


Shortly after BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, 2010, one of the most politically well-connected attorneys in the United States was appointed to administer the $20 billion fund to, in theory, pay compensation to those harmed by BP’s catastrophe.

President Obama and BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, agreed that attorney Kenneth Feinberg should head the fund. Feinberg would later be chosen, also by Obama, to oversee the compensation of the top executives of the banks that were bailed out with US tax dollars in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

He has, almost needless to say, been accused of being a fox guarding a chicken house.

Feinberg’s firm was paid $1.25 million per month by BP – that we know of (Feinberg refused to disclose the full amount of his compensation and the details of his deal with BP) – to run the so-called Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).

In essence, BP paid Feinberg $1.25 million a month to limit their liability in the wake of the single largest marine oil disaster in US history.

Outrage against Feinberg escalated enough, that by December 2010, the Center for Justice and Democracy sent a letter to BP CEO Bob Dudley expressing concern over “serious new issues raised about the lack of transparency and potential conflicts of interest related to the administration of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility,” and pointed out the obvious conflict of interest:

Mr. Feinberg, employed by BP, has decided on his own authority that all claims recipients must release all companies who caused this disaster from any and all legal responsibility, no matter how grossly negligent they were. This sweeping release, which assigns victims’ claims to BP, benefits only one actor: BP – the company that happens to pay Mr. Feinberg’s salary.

Countless numbers of people along the Gulf Coast with claims against BP became increasingly enraged in their accusations that Feinberg was little more than a BP shill, and demanded that Feinberg stop claiming he was on their side, and not BP’s.

Shortly thereafter, in January 2011, the federal judge presiding over BP’s oil disaster litigation ruled that Feinberg was not independent of BP and could no longer claim he was, as Feinberg had been promising victims that he was their lawyer and did not answer to BP.

And now he is being sued by people he claimed to have represented against BP…

VERY interesting article.

Indicators Of The Decline And Fall Of The United States

After a speech I gave this past weekend, a young woman asked me whether a failure by the United States to properly surround and intimidate China might result in instability. I explained why I thought the opposite was true. Imagine if China had military bases along the Canadian and Mexican borders with the United States and ships in Bermuda and the Bahamas, Nova Scotia and Vancouver. Would you feel stabilized? Or might you feel something else?

The U.S. empire can continue to see itself as a force for good, doing things that would be unacceptable for anyone else but never to be questioned when performed by the global cop — that is, it can go on not seeing itself at all, expanding, over-reaching, and collapsing from within. Or it can recognize what it’s about, shift priorities, scale back militarism, reverse the concentration of wealth and power, invest in green energy and human needs, and undo the empire a bit sooner but far more beneficially. Collapse is not inevitable. Collapse or redirection is inevitable, and thus far the U.S. government is choosing the path toward the former.

Let’s look at a few of the indicators…



Prison Labor

Searching for the “best kept secret in outsourcing,” one that can “provide you with all the advantages” of domestic workers, but with “offshore prices”? Try prison labor!

That’s the message of Unicor, also known as Federal Prison Industries, a government-owned corporation that employs federal workers for as little as 23 cents an hour to manufacture military uniforms, furniture, electronics and other products.

Though FPI markets itself as an opportunity for inmates to obtain skills training, critics have attacked the program as exploitative. Small business owners have also complained that FPI’s incredibly low wages make it impossible to compete.

What’s more, businesses that partner with FPI are organized and regularly lobby the government on prison-related issues. Their trade group, the Correctional Vendors Association, lobbied Congress last year on the Justice Safety Valve Act, a bipartisan bill giving judges the power to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum, including in drug-related cases.

View FPI’s promotional video here or below:

The Continuing Depopulation Of Detroit

Detroit is not a city in the midst of a “revival,” as enterprising investors and the national media often claim…

Thanks to Dr. Detroit for the above link.