From The Huffington Post
A poet once wrote: "When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble. Give a whistle. And this'll help things turn out for the best." This famous Python ditty appears to be the government, BP and media spin on the oil disaster at this point, and it could be the biggest display of wishful thinking, denial and deception in the face of a serious crisis since Chris Matthews and G. Gordon Liddy swooned over President Bush's crotch bulge aboard the U.S.S. Lincoln when the Iraq war was apparently "over."
For several weeks now, the traditional media, and especially cable news, has been wondering, "Where's all the oil?" as if to suggest the biggest water-based oil disaster in history is over and the oil is gone.
Remember the first time this "where's the oil?" question was raised? Back on May 16, Brit Hume asked, "Where's the oil?" on Fox News Sunday. Days later, the oil washed ashore and no one dared repeat the same question.
Patient zero in the most recent "where's the oil?" analysis appears to be Thad Allen:
"What we're trying to figure out is where is all the oil at and what can we do about it," said US spill response chief Thad Allen.
Coincidentally, my next book is titled: Where Is All The Oil At? (And What Can We Do About It). I'm joking, of course, because we know precisely where the oil is. And there's very little we can do about it, other than to stop candy-coating the post-kill status of the disaster.
I understand and accept that the government response has gone as well as can be expected considering the unprecedented nature of the disaster, along with the considerable financial and political pressure from all around. But when it's come to the use of dispersants, for example, and since the capping of the blowout preventer, the government has been engaged in this campaign to significantly downplay the disaster for quite some time.
Today White House energy adviser Carol Browner told CBS:
"The vast majority of the oil has been contained, it's been burned, it's been cleaned," [...] The remaining oil "will weather, it will break down naturally. Mother Nature will do her part."
"Just purse your lips and whistle -- that's the thing."
This statement is shockingly deceptive. And it's deceptive spin like this that ends up snowballing into full blown complacency. Dangerous complacency. Before we know it, it's five years later, and everyone is wondering why so many people are dropping dead from mysterious diseases. More on that presently.
According to the New York Times, "...three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated -- and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm." A study by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined that the rest of the oil, 26 percent of it, is mostly a "glossy sheen" and "tar balls." In other words, we've gone from "HOLY CRAP!" status back to the days when idiots like Haley Barbour were comparing the oil spill to rainbows and chocolate mousse.
Oh, wait. It's not a rainbow or chocolate this time. The New York Times:
"The report calculates, for example, that about 25 percent of the chemicals in the oil evaporated at the surface or dissolved into seawater in the same way that sugar dissolves in tea."
It's sweet tea! Ahhh. Refreshing on a hot summer's day. The obvious problem here is that when sugar dissolves in tea, the sugar is, you know, still there. It doesn't vanish, otherwise there'd be a lot of pissed off tea drinkers wondering why their tea is so bitter.
But again, the euphemizing of the disaster never ceases to confound reality.
We only learned this week how much oil actually erupted into the Gulf. 4.9 million barrels is the latest guesstimate. That's nearly 206 million gallons of oil. So this "light sheen" they're talking about -- this 26 percent of the oil spill -- is more than 53 million gallons. That's a lot of rainbow chocolate tea sugar. Five times the amount of oil spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster, in fact.