Late Night: Oil-Soaked Birds of a Feather
In July 2009, at a lecture to the Stanford Business School, the CEO of British Petroleum Tony Hayward explains to attendees that BP was going in the wrong direction before he took over as CEO because, “we had too many people that were working to save the world.“
No, srsly. He said that. This arrogant POS who insists that, in the grand scheme of things, the oil volcano despoiling the Gulf is no big deal, thinks his predecessor’s honest efforts to get BP into renewable, green energy was just another dirty fucking hippie trying to extend the time we have left on this planet, when instead, he should have been focused on sucking the Earth dry of every possible resource.
Do you know who this guy reminds me of? The King of Greedystan, Lloyd Blankfein.
Is it possible to make too much money? “Is it possible to have too much ambition? Is it possible to be too successful?” Blankfein shoots back. “I don’t want people in this firm to think that they have accomplished as much for themselves as they can and go on vacation. As the guardian of the interests of the shareholders and, by the way, for the purposes of society, I’d like them to continue to do what they are doing. I don’t want to put a cap on their ambition. It’s hard for me to argue for a cap on their compensation.”
Curiously enough, Goldman Sachs and BP have a good deal in common besides their CEOs’ gleeful sociopathy–for one thing, they’re being sued for defrauding smaller oil and gas production companies in the United States out of profits in 2008.
With this lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma district court, we’re one step closer to finding out if Goldman Sachs was responsible for helping to goose oil prices to record highs in the summer of 2008 by conspiring against Semgroup in massive crude oil trades. As first detailed by Forbes Magazine a year ago . . . , Semgroup collapsed into bankruptcy under $3 billion in short sale losses on oil futures trades. Goldman, through its J. Aron commodities division, . . . appears to have been responsible for giving Semgroup its final push off the cliff by unleashing a massive margin call on Semgroup as oil prices spiked. Billionaire John Catsimatidis, who has settled his own Semgroup-related suits in the past year, has asserted that Goldman’s actions may have helped push up the price of oil to its record of $147 a barrel. . . .
Aw, co-defendants in a fraud suit. Next thing you know, they’ll be shopping for a wedding trousseau at Bijan.
But wait, it gets better. Peter Sutherland, a former chairman of BP, serves as chairman of Goldman Sachs International. And Goldman Sachs, up until three years ago, was one of three owners of Nalco, the terribly ethical company that manufactures Corexit, the highly toxic, notably ineffective dispersant BP is dumping by the metric assload into the Gulf. (Social Security deconstructionist Pete Peterson’s Blackstone Group was one of the other two, by the way). Who among us doesn’t love corporate cross-pollination?
Okay, just for some masochistic fun, let’s add one more twist to this clusterfuck of multinational inbreeding: Former Goldman Sachs CEO/ Cheney’s Personal Banker Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson served as the Chairman of the Board at the Nature Conservancy. As Jane noted this morning, the Nature Conservancy is a proud member of the enviro veal pen, gladly taking BP’s money:
the Nature Conservancy lists BP as one of its business partners. The Conservancy also has given BP a seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly $10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations over the years.
In return, the Conservancy, along with other environmental organizations, has enthusiastically participated in BP’s greenwashing efforts, a collaboration that has obviously upset the Nature Conservancy’s rank-and-file citizen membership.
Looks like we’ve had our Gulf Wars; now we’ve got the “oil”garchy’s War on the Gulf.
Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more cynical.
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