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The Brits are mad at us. Why? Because we’re so mad at BP. Lord Tebbit, for example, has thrown a royal hissy fit. He recently called President Obama’s response to BP’s exploded oil well, “a crude, bigoted, xenophobic display of partisan, political, presidential petulance against a multinational company.”
Whoa there, your Lordship, you might want to save some of that breath for breathing! Let me try to translate America’s feelings into English for you. We’re not merely mad at BP because its well exploded – killing 11 workers, and doing inestimable economic and ecological damage.
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Rather, our nation’s anger has steadily built to a furious boil as we’ve made discovery after stunning discovery of the rank carelessness and callousness of BP’s executives. Start with carelessness. Not only have we learned that this huge, immensely-profitable corporation took recklessly-irresponsible safety shortcuts in the drilling of this dangerous well, but we’ve also discovered that this is hardly its first disaster. Indeed, BP turns out to be notorious in the industry for its culture of ruthless corner-cutting, pursuing profits so single-mindedly that catastrophes are an unavoidable part of its operational ethic. We have a word for this in America: Greed.
Now, let’s add devil-may-care corporate arrogance to the mix. Before, during, and after their Biblical-level blowout in the Gulf, BP’s top executives have made blatant lying their principal form of communication with us, interrupted only by recurring outbursts of callous, insulting, and astonishingly-elitist comments.
So, your Lordship, we’re not “petulant” toward your multinational oil giant – we’re furious about its deadly culture of greed and arrogance. No need to thank me, sir, I’m happy to have translated this for you.
“BP Ignored The Omens Of Disaster,” The New York Times, June 19, 2010.
“Across Atlantic, Much Ado About Oil Company’s Name,” The New York Times, June 13, 2010.
“Insults Across the Water,” The New York Times, June 14, 2010.
“U.S. Fury at BP Stirs Backlash Among British,” The New York Times, June 10, 2010.
Obama To Press BP To Establish Escrow Account,” The New York Times, June 14, 2010.