BP: To Be or Not to Be?
Dear Alibi ,
BP has a stock value minus debt of about $100 billion, down by almost half since their rig exploded. It has about $7 billion in cash, down $2 billion, and has a line of credit for another $7 billion.
Forget about it. BP is dead. It is only a matter of time. You can’t pollute most of the Gulf of Mexico and the shorelines of four states and expect to survive. Short sellers smell blood and will bid BP stock down to the fire sale value of their assets. Still considerable, but their line of credit will evaporate quicker than oil on water as potential lenders exercise escape clauses relative to just this type of contingency. And the cleanup costs and reparations to affected parties will soon overwhelm their cash reserves and the $20 billion to be put in escrow. This is what is known as bankruptcy.
How about a bailout? Britain must be thinking about it, what with all those pensioners and stock holders getting ready to take another hit. But do they want to sign on for the Gulf cleanup if they don’t have to? No bloody way.
Then there’s us, the oiled-upon U.S.A., pressured by those very states that need cleaning up and economic reparations. If BP runs out of money, how will it continue to pay these costs? Being a corporation, a limited liability entity, it is only liable up to the value of its assets. There’s jail time, but CEOs can’t clean up oil from behind bars.
So in a most exquisitely perverse scenario, we, the aggrieved party, including the out-of-business fishermen and others, may find it necessary to keep BP afloat, unlike the aforementioned oil rig, so that it can continue to pump oil from its other rigs and continue to make money so it can continue to pay for the ill effects of the apparently continuous oil spill, which will be worse than almost anyone has envisioned so far.
So there it is. Either BP goes under and we clean up our own beaches, birds, businesses and wetlands, or we prop up the scofflaw, in some not-too-conspicuous way, so they can continue to pay for the mess they’ve made. It’s a dilemma; possibly a conundrum; certainly ironic.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this. But must we pray that BP survives? Say it ain’t so.
Father’s Day Gifts
In regards to the article on Father’s Day gifts [Feature, “Give Cancer the Bird With Father’s Day Gift Ideas,” June 17-23], I’m concerned about one that was thought to be a “cool” idea. Nick Brown claims that giving modern replica arrowheads from touristy gift shops will not suffice, that “[y]ou need the real McCoy.” Removing artifacts from public lands violates antiquities laws around in this country since 1906 and may be punishable by fines and/or imprisonment if caught. Though these laws do not include objects accrued from private lands, does it make it more justified to commit a crime against history just because an object may fall on one side of a fence versus another? Removing artifacts does a disservice to archaeologists whose job it is to analyze their context to uncover mysteries about the past. That same artifact placed in a shadowbox in someone’s living room is robbed of information about its cultural context in time or space.
Furthermore, supporting the sale of antiquities by purchasing one just encourages continued looting. Looters holes, backhoe scrapes and desecrated burials are an affront to the sacred nature of sites and blatantly disregard the importance of discovering nuances of the past. In addition, dealers can and often do easily forge documents that the materials were legally obtained. Please don’t encourage the looting of the past by suggesting arrowheads or any other artifacts as “cool” gifts. If your father loves history, find a modern flintknapper who can make you a nicer-looking replica than the cheap ones you find at the truck stop, and you can tell him what it is a replica of and its place in history. Or buy him a book about them. One can still learn about the past without trying to outright own it.
Where’s the Truth?
Six leaders of the Albuquerque Jewish community objected to the cartoon lambasting Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla [Letters, “For Shame, El Machete,” June 17-23]. While they rail against his hard-edged cartoon, they assure us that the truth will come out in a report from an Israeli government commission. This from the same Israeli government which initially claimed that 50 of the aid flotilla members had Al Qaeda links. When the press objected, this claim was quickly withdrawn. This from an Israeli government that has confiscated all the cell phone videos taken during the confrontation. Think we'll ever see that footage? The notion that the Israeli government will print the unvarnished truth is just absurd and not supported by history.
The letter writers also object to criticism of their religion, but it is rabbis who are blessing the troops. It is religious fanatics who refuse any compromise with the Palestinians.
Clearly, neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians can be absolved of all blame in a long-running conflict. Each side holds entrenched views and harbors deep-seated fears and hatred of the other. But if you want to dismiss pro-Palestinian propaganda, then you also have to dismiss pro-Israeli propaganda. Frankly, neither viewpoint is very conducive to the peaceful dialogue the letter writers endorse.
No Need to Apologize
Regarding the response by “leaders of Albuquerque’s Jewish community” to Eric Garcia’s cartoon [Letters, “For Shame, El Machete,” June 17-23], I don’t see any need for the Alibi to apologize. To accuse critics of Israel of anti-Semitism while ignoring Israel’s 60-year campaign of genocide against Palestinians and the slaughter of peace activists (by, for example, focusing on the skullcap worn by Garcia’s “Israel” character) is a typical distraction practiced by Israel’s supporters. As for Israel’s relationship with the United States, consider that U.S. media only presented Israel’s version of the flotilla events, in report after report and editorial after editorial, and, as far as I know, has yet to publish a single interview with survivors of the attack. The U.S. is Israel’s poodle, and the Alibi deserves credit for daring to express an unpopular (in this country, anyway) opinion. Keep up the good work, Eric.
Mazel Tov—A Blessing on Your Land
[Re: Letters, “For Shame, El Machete,” June 17-23] I speak as someone who has attended many Holocaust memorial services here in Albuquerque. It seems to me there are two lessons of the Holocaust: One lesson is never to become victims of a genocide again; a second lesson is never to become the victimizer. I think the Jewish people have learned the first lesson well, but the second lesson is much harder to learn. Getting more power and military might makes it even harder to learn. If Israel wants to end its Palestinian problem without putting an end to the Palestinians, this means that the Israelis must realize they will have to live next door to the Palestinians forever—which means that turning them into friends is the best long-term solution. But, you say, the Palestinians are enemies who want the Israelis dead or gone because in the Palestinian mind the Israelis took over their lands? Acknowledge that, and acknowledge that the solution will take generations. Remember the Jews have been around for over 5,000 years. What's a few generations to solve a major problem? I suggest food and medical aid from Israel to Gaza, also rebuilding of bombed areas, not giving money, but Jews doing as much of the work as possible themselves. On the West Bank I suggest stopping the expansion of Jewish settlers. I also suggest asking the nations of the world to give land for Israelis to settle in. Many nations would love to have enclaves of an industrious, well-connected, creative people in their midst. When settled, be the best neighbors possible. Let the world (and the Palestinians) see what a blessing to the world the Jews can be.
I find the recent El Machete cartoon by Eric Garcia in the recent Alibi edition [June 10-16] to be very anti-Semitic and offensive. It shows a large, sword-wielding man [Editor’s note: The person with the sword is Lady Justice, depicted in the cartoon with her emblematic blindfold, sword and scales.] with "Israel" on his shirt. He also is wearing a yamaka (Jewish prayer hat) and is attacking innocent men and women. First of all, Jews have been depicted as dangerous, malicious thieves in cartoons such as this for centuries. Such anti-Semitism contributed to the hatred which led to expulsion of all Jews from Spain in 1492, the murderous pogroms in Russian and Poland, and the annihilation of six million Jews in the Holocaust. Hitler certainly would give this El Machete cartoon his highest approval rating.
Second, Israel is an extremely small, Jewish state that is surrounded by large, populous Arab countries. Israel is not formally recognized by many of these countries who have stated numerous times that they would like to push the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea. Need proof? The Hezbollah and Hamas frequently fire rockets onto innocent Israeli citizens. In contrast, Israel does not wish to annihilate their Arab neighbors—they want peace. Israel is certainly not the malicious giant as portrayed in the El Machete cartoon. This little country, by the way, is the only country in the enormous Middle East which is democratic and does not discriminate against race, gender or sexual orientation.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.
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