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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
3 Feb 2016
What Really Poisoned the Water in Flint, Michigan

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27 Jan 2016
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21 Jan 2016
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BP Is a Corporate Criminal


Gosh, how quickly things turn. One day, you're a strutting peacock — the next day, you're just another gasping, oil-covered bird.

In early April, BP was strutting about in full corporate splendor, showing off the $9 billion in profits that it had soaked up in just the first three months of this year. It was also basking in a corporate re-imaging campaign, depicting itself as a clean-energy pioneer and declaring that BP now stood for "Beyond Petroleum."

Since its Gulf of Mexico well blew out on April 20, however, BP has proven to be beyond belief. The wider and deeper that this catastrophe spreads, the more we discover just how oily this giant is.

From the time it was known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and set out to grab and control the rich petroleum reserves owned by what is now Iran, BP has been a recidivist global criminal. In the past three decades, it grew huge by swallowing such competitors as Standard Oil of Ohio, Amoco and Arco. Along the way, it has been implicated in bribery, overthrowing governments, plunder and money laundering, plus having established one of the worst safety and environmental records in an industry that is notoriously reckless on both counts.

And now, its rap sheet grows almost daily. In fact, the Center for Public Integrity has revealed that the oil giant's current catastrophic mess should come as no surprise, for it has a long and sorry record of causing calamities. In the last three years, the center says, an astonishing "97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors" came at BP facilities. These included 760 violations rated as "egregious" and "willful." In contrast, the oil company with the second-worst record had only eight such citations.

While its CEO, Tony Hayward, claims that its gulf blowout was simply a tragic accident that no one could've foreseen, internal corporate documents reveal that BP itself had been struggling for nearly a year with its inability to get this well under control.

Also, it had been willfully violating its own safety policies and had flat out lied to regulators about its ability to cope with what's delicately called a major "petroleum release" in the Gulf of Mexico.

"What the hell did we do to deserve this?" Hayward asked shortly after his faulty well exploded. Excuse us, Tony, but you're not the victim here — and this disaster is not the work of fate. Rather, the deadly gusher in the gulf is a direct product of BP's reckless pursuit of profits. You waltzed around environmental protections, deliberately avoided installing relatively cheap safety equipment, and cavalierly lied about the likelihood of disaster and your ability to cope with it.

"It wasn't our accident," the CEO later declared, as oil was spreading. Wow, Tony, in one four-word sentence, you told two lies. First, BP owns the well, and it is your mess. Second, the mess was not an "accident," but the inevitable result of hubris and greed flowing straight from BP's executive suite.

"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean," Hayward told the media, trying to sidestep the fact that BP's mess was fast becoming America's worst oil calamity. Indeed, Tony coolly explained that the amount of oil spewing from the well "is tiny in relation to the total water volume." This flabbergasting comment came only two weeks before it was revealed that the amount of gushing oil was 19 times more than BP had been claiming.

Eleven oil workers are dead, thousands of Gulf Coast people have had their livelihoods devastated and unfathomable damage is being done to the gulf ecology. Imagine how the authorities would be treating the offender if BP were a person. It would've been put behind bars long ago — if not on death row.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



8 Comments | Post Comment
Yep, poor Tony should thank his lucky stars he doesn't operate from China. He might well be hanging out on death row right now awaiting the fate of the late Zheng Xiaoyu, the food and drug agency director who was executed a few years ago for approving fake drugs.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Masako
Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:16 PM
Although I myself am quite liberal and absolutely agree that there is a huge and growing problem in our corporate and governmental leadership, mainly regarding accountability and competence, I believe the real core of the problem is our addiction to oil. Please think about the mess in the Gulf, all the dead wildlife, the sea bottom that is ruined for decades, the stinking nasty sea water filled with oil, please think about this as you step into your automobile today and drive to work, drive to pickup the kids, and drive those 4 blocks to the grocery store.
CEO's and government leaders will not straighten out our problems, they are incapable - that is now clear. We are the only ones that can change and solve our own problems, and create a sustainable future for our children and for all life on this planet.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Bill
Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:03 PM
BP had an accident (or was sabotaged). The efforts of a multitude of people to prevent this oil from reaching the coast was deliberately stimied by Obama and his commie cohorts. Millions of people will suffer because of Obama's incompetence and you and your kind (whiney, leftist weenies) will continue to blame BP. You are beyond pathetic.
Comment: #3
Posted by: David Henricks
Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:21 PM
I forgive you David, for your inability to connect with Nature and have compassion for all life that is being stuffed out in the name of corporate profits. It is obvious by your statements that you suffer from the distortion of reality that is cranked out by the corporately owned and operated media since you believe that Obama would deliberately promote the devastation with the help of his "commie cronies." This mental illness is often associated with a distorted sense of power bestowed upon the "whiney, leftist weenies". I will pray for your healing with offerings to the pelicans here on the best coast.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Earth Pope
Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:46 PM
Its time for a peaceful revolution. How about a Hightower/Goodman or vice versa ticket in 2012? Retire the rich elite from government.
Comment: #5
Posted by: John Despard
Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:52 PM
Frankly we can no longer afford to elect our solutions or support our enemies. We need to act individually and collectively for ourselves, our families and our communities. To bring about change we must discipline ourselves to stop buying from companies profiting from the reckless disregard for life. No government can do that for us. No corporation will stop unless we stop them.
Comment: #6
Posted by: jwwbrennan
Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:59 PM
We need to solve the oil problem with the right decisions to use less oil & elect the politicians that will use our taxes to expand all natural energy systems that do not pollute. I am a hyper miler & obey the laws governing minimum speed limits on our freeways. people are astounded when i tell them that the maximum mileage on my Dodge 3500 turbo diesel is over 35 miles per gallon at 50 MPH. Are you still in a hurry???
Comment: #7
Posted by: gary hild
Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:30 PM
Re: David Henricks You sound as if you have been listening to talk hate radio for too long.
Comment: #8
Posted by: gary hild
Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:42 PM
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