BP, The Release Forms and Show Me The Money

Hoo Boy. All in one title. So in addition to the environmental debacle of the century, now we have to worry about BP going broke????? Based on their profits this seems laughable but… at least one industry observer has said that at the very least they may have to sell off profitable holdings at fire sale prices in order to meet their obligations.

So let’s talk about their obligations. A few of the earliest stories, before the endless failed attempts to stop the flow of oil took the front and center, were about the people who were hurt or killed in the initial explosion of the rig. And what emerged from those stories was that people who were hurting, exhausted and focused only on contacting their loved ones to let them know they were alive were pressured into signing release forms regarding their ultimate right to recompense from BP for their injuries. At the time they signed these they didn’t even know, many of them, what their injuries were. They were distraught, their families were distraught and BP took advantage of them, pure and simple.

So this is atrocious in and of itself, but what is the lesson? Corporate role modeling in the last few years has been abysmal. Enron, corporate greed, wall street, stock and banking greed, mortgage banking greed and the complete collapse of the economy have all taken a main place in our daily news. The economy is “improving” but true jobs and especially real estate prices are not. They will be a long time coming at least in some parts of the country (like where I live). The lessons apparent are every person for themselves, the hell with the planet, the injured and the working folk; get what you can and screw the rest.

I think we are too litigious in this country by far these days. I think that there is an attorney to take every stupid claim and make it law. But I believe deeply that our judicial system can be an instrument for good, can be an instrument for change. I deeply hope that some “do-gooder” lawyers take up the case of those poor oilmen, tired, hurt and afraid, who signed those disgraceful releases. I wish I could be one of them.

My generation was idealistic, we thought we could change the world and to some degree we did. So what happened? I guess I retain some of that idealism, although I don’t think sometimes that I have adequately passed it on to my son. Isn’t it better to model an idealistic failure than a narcissistic success?

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One Response to “BP, The Release Forms and Show Me The Money”

  1. Joan Burns Says:

    As usual this is a well-thought-out, fine blog. The author is especially adept at taking something from the news and pointing out the morality (or lack of Morality) involved. Keep on writing, I am paying attention to every blog and every word.


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