Thursday, June 17, 2010

Will Big Oil Offshore Drilling Produce More Big Oil Spills Offshore?

In her 2008 book,The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry--And What We Most Do To Stop It, Antonia Juhasz explained why offshore oil drilling by Big Oil was likely to produce offshore accidents, spills and explosions in places like the Gulf of Mexico:

"Offshore drilling is a Herculean technological and financial feat. All too often, however, technology proves inadequate, appropriate financial investments are not made, and accidents happen. Given the size and scale of these facilities, even a minor incident can have catastrophic impacts. Accidents, spills, leaks, fires, explosions, and blowouts are far too frequent occurences that have led to the deaths of hundreds of workers.

"Many of the platforms operating off the United States and in international waters were built in the 1960s. Many are twenty, thirty, or even forty years old. Even with new facilities, however, deadly and dangerous accidents are frequent. According to the most recent statistics available, compiled by the Department of the Interior, more than 70 incidents on the U.S. outer Continental Shelf resulted in oil spills between 1980 and 1999. In California alone, at least 5 major spills occurred on offshore platforms belonging to Exxon and Chevron, among others, from 1991 to 1997. Oil is extremely toxic, and current cleanup methods are incapable of removing more than a small fraction of the oil spilled in marine waters.

"The causes of such incidents worldwide include human error, poor equipment, mechanical defects, structural failure, and earthquakes. An increasing problem is extreme weather, particularly hurricanes. As a result of these storms, offshore oil rigs and platforms are tipping, collapsing, exploding, and floating out to sea with increasing frequency. As global warming intensifies, weather conditions will become more extreme and such events will occur with greater frequency--further harming our oceans and threatening the safety of workers...

"Every major oil company has experienced serious accidents on rigs across the United States and around the world. It is estimated that nearly 600 people have died in them worldwide since 1965...

"...Today our nation is once again ruled by a handful of corporate oil interests...Any formula designed to lessen the control of Big Oil over our government and the world's most vital natural resources must therefore consider the breakup of the nation's largest oil corporations, the spawn of Standard Oil: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco/Phillips, Marathon, Valero, Shell-US, and BP America..."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Irwin Silber's `About The GI Movement" Article Revisited: Part 2

In the booklet that's included with Paredon Records' 1970 vinyl album, FTA!: Songs of the GI Resistance Sung by Barbara Dane with active-duty GIs, former Sing Out! magazine and U.S. Guardian radical newsweekly editor Irwin Silber wrote--in his "About The GI Movement" article--the following:

"...Almost three years ago, as anti-war GIs began to realize that almost no one except lifers and the brass were in favor of the war, the dissent began to take on an organized form. GIs at various bases began publishing their own underground newspapers. Salty, outspoken, increasingly political, there are more than 50 such papers regularly published today. Some of them have a circulation as high as 15,000 copies per issue. The papers appear everywhere--including some which are epublished in Vietnam, Germany and Japan. Stockade rebellions, protesting the Army's racist system and the inhuman treatment accorded military prisoners, broke out in dozens of camps--including posts in Vietnam, German and Japan.

"Desertions from the U.S. Army reached an all-time high, while AWOLs sky-rocketed to the point where the military conceded there were more than 150,000 such cases in 1969 alone. GIs began organized letter campaigns and petition movements in opposition to the war, in support of the struggles of blacks, Mexican-Americans, students, working people and others in the civilian populatlion, and in protest at the brutalizing conditions within the armed forces. Mess hall boycotts, sick-clal strikes, and various other `on the job' actions spread throughout the ranks--particularly in conjunction with coordinated mass civilian anti-war actions.

"The movement is more than one of spontaneous dissent, however. The basis for a widespread movement exists in the reality of the opprression of the ordinary GI, and particularly his victimization as the one who is asked to give up the most--his life--for the least. But it also took the conscious and concerted efforts of politically motivated activists to help this movement find its voice and its organizational forms."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Asian-American Worker Jobless Rate Jumps To 7.5 Percent Under Obama

Between April and May 2010, the U.S. government hired 411,000 temporary employees to work on Census 2010, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Asian-American workers still jumped from 6.8 to 7.5 percent between April and May 2010 under the Democratic Obama Administration.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 17.1 percent in May 2010; while the unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 8.8 percent.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black female workers over 20-years-of-age in the United States was still 12.4 percent in May 2010; while the unemployment rate for all U.S. female workers over 20-years-of-age was still 8.1 percent, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Hispanic or Latino workers was still 12.4 percent in May 2010.

The “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 37.3 to 38 percent between April and May 2010; while the unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 23.5 to 24.4 percent between April and May 2010. The “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Hispanic or Latino youth between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 28.6 percent in May 2010.

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all male workers over 16 years of age in the United States was still 10.5 percent in May 2010; while the jobless rate for all female workers over 16 years of age remained at 8.8 percent.

The size of the U.S. labor force decreased by 322,000 between April and May 2010, while the number of employed U.S. workers decreased by 35,000, according to the “seasonally adjusted” data; and the official national unemployment rate in the United States for all workers was still 9.7 percent in May 2010.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June 4, 2010 press release:

“…Construction employment declined…

“The number of unemployed persons was 15.0 million in May…

“In May, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was about unchanged at 6.8 million. These individuals made up 46.0 percent of unemployed persons…

“In May, the civilian labor force participation rate edged down by 0.2 percentage points to 65.0 percent…

“About 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in May…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

“Among the marginally attached, there were 1.1 million discouraged workers in May…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them…

“…Total private employment showed little change over the month…Employment in construction declined…

“In May, employment in construction declined by 35,000…

“Employment in other private-sector industries, including wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality showed little or no change in May…

“…Employment in state government excluding education decreased by 13,000…”