U.S. Stock Market Slides after Downgrade

by Stan Choe
AP
August 8, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks tumbled amid a rout in global markets Monday after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time.

S&P cut the long-term debt rating for the U.S. by one notch to AA+ from AAA late Friday. The move wasn’t unexpected, but it comes when investors are already feeling nervous about a weak U.S. economy, European debt problems and Japan’s recovery from its March earthquake.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 151 points in morning trading, or 1.3 percent, to 11,300. The S&P 500 index fell 19 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,180. The Nasdaq composite index fell 51 points, or 2 percent, to 2,481.

In Europe, the German DAX index fell 3 percent, and the French CAC 40 index fell 2.5 percent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 2.2 percent, and the South Korean Kospi index fell 3.8 percent.

“Fear of a repeat of 2008 is what’s really driving investments,” said Gary Schlossberg, senior economist with Wells Capital Management. Memories of the 2008 financial crisis are driving investors away from risky investments and into what’s considered safer.

Prices for U.S. government debt rose because Treasurys are still seen as one of the world’s few safe havens. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.48 percent from 2.57 percent late Friday. It fell as low as 2.46 percent earlier Monday. A bond’s yield drops when its price rises.

But where Treasury prices are at the end of the day will be more important than where they are at the start, Bill O’Donnell, head of U.S. Treasury strategy at RBS Securities, wrote in a report.

“We will learn more about the future path of Treasury prices at today’s close than we will by the open,” he said. “I want to see how the market clears and how it synthesizes the cacophony of news of late.”

Gold is another investment that investors traditionally run to for safety. It rose above $1,700 per ounce for the first time. Its price remains below its 1980 record after adjusting for inflation.

Investors are worried that Spain or Italy could become the next European country to be unable to pay its debt. The European Central Bank said it will buy Italian and Spanish bonds in hopes of helping the countries avert a possible default.

Seeking to avert panic spreading across financial markets, the finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations issued a joint statement Monday saying they were committed to taking all necessary measures to support financial stability and growth.

“We will remain in close contact throughout the coming weeks and cooperate as appropriate, ready to take action to ensure financial stability and liquidity in financial markets,” they said.

Crude oil, natural gas and other commodities fell on worries that a weaker global economy will mean less demand. Oil fell $2.84 to $84.04 per barrel.

Last week, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 698.63 points. That was its biggest point loss since October 2008, during the financial crisis. The Dow has dropped in nine of the last 11 trading days.

Worries about the U.S. economic recovery have been building since the government said that economic growth was far weaker in the first half of 2011 than economists expected. The economy grew at a 1.3 percent annual rate between April and June, below economists’ expectations of 1.7 percent. It expanded at just a 0.4 percent rate in the first quarter.

Then reports showed that the manufacturing and services industries barely grew in July. Job growth was better than economists expected last month. But the 117,000 jobs created in July were still well below the 215,000 that employers added between February and April, on average.

The Federal Reserve will meet on Tuesday, but economists don’t expect much to come out of the meeting. The central bank’s key interest rate is already at a record of nearly zero, where it has been since 2008. The Fed has also already said that it plans to keep rates low for “an extended period.”

The central bank finished a $600 billion program in June to buy Treasurys in hopes of supporting the economy. Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month that the Fed would step in to help the economy if it further weakened. But some Fed policymakers oppose more bond purchases, saying it could lead to higher inflation.

Fears about a weaker U.S. economy have overshadowed profit growth businesses have reported. Earnings rose 12 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier for the 441 companies in the S&P 500 that have already reported. Revenue growth has also topped 10 percent for the first time in a year.

US stock futures tumble after S&P downgrade of US

Associated Press
August 8, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures are tumbling after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time.

The ratings downgrade announced late Friday came after the Dow Jones industrial average had recorded its worst week since 2009.

Asian and European stocks are down Monday. The downgrade of U.S. debt is overshadowing bond purchases that the European Central bank is making to help Italy and Spain avoid defaulting on their debts.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial futures are down 222 points, or 1.9 percent, to 11,181. S&P 500 futures are down 27, or 2.3 percent, to 1,171. Nasdaq 100 futures are down 50, or 2.3 percent, to 2,134.

Gold is above $1,700 per ounce for the first time because investors are looking for something safe.

Derivatives Markets will continue to operate without oversight

3M and Cargill are on the list of corporations that asked to be exempted from recently passed laws.

AP

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has decided to let companies continue to trade certain contracts used to guard against swings in currency values outside regulators’ view.

New rules require that many such trades happen more transparently, on exchanges where regulators can see them. But Geithner is exempting certain contracts used by companies to hedge currency rates.

The new financial overhaul law authorized Geithner to carve out such an exemption to stricter regulation.

Business groups argue that tighter oversight of such contracts would be costly and unnecessary. But critics, including some regulators, counter that the whole market for financial contracts called over-the-counter derivatives should face stricter supervision.

The value of derivatives hinges on an underlying investment, such as currencies, stocks or mortgages. Speculators who used over-the-counter derivatives helped fuel the 2008 financial crisis.

Sen. Carl Levin, who pushed for tighter regulation after the crisis, said Geithner’s decision might open the door for lax oversight in the future.

Treasury’s top markets official said the contracts already include many of the safeguards the new rules impose. Investors can find information on the price for each contract, for example. Some of the contracts are traded on electronic platforms, which are less likely to freeze up after an unexpected financial shock.

Imposing new rules would mean “introducing an additional process into what is a very well-functioning market today, and you would be putting more steps into the settlement process,” said Mary Miller, assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets.

Miller argued that even with the exemption, the market will become more transparent. Companies will have to report the contracts in real time, after they make a trade. The information will go to central databanks that regulators can see.

Still, the contracts, called foreign-exchange swaps, wouldn’t be subject to other requirements that experts say would make them more transparent.

The contracts that Geithner carved out account for about $30 trillion of the $600 trillion global market for over-the-counter derivatives, Treasury said. The new, tougher rules will apply to currency swaps, options and other contracts used for similar purposes.

Multinational corporations such as Cargill and 3M argued for the exemption. They said the new rules would have raised their costs, thereby limiting their ability to grow and create jobs.

Advocates of tighter regulation say closer oversight is needed at each stage of the process — before, during and after a trade. They say the exemptions will make some types of trades harder to oversee.

Michael Greenberger, a former official with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is responsible for policing much of the derivatives market, disputed Treasury’s main defense of the exemption — that the contracts expire so fast that they don’t pose serious risks to the financial system.

“Within the next 60 months, there will be a systemic break in this market, said Greenberger, now a law professor at the University of Maryland.

The decision technically is a proposal. Treasury will accept public comments for 30 days before finalizing the exemption.

Some Big Lies of Science

Global Research

“[T]he majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.”– Harold Pinter, Nobel Lecture (Literature), 2005

The maintenance of the hierarchical structures that control our lives depends on Pinter’s “vast tapestry of lies upon which we feed.”

Modern science as modern medicine have been used to subdue the global population.

Therefore, the main institutions that embed us into the hierarchy, such as schools, universities, and mass media and entertainment corporations, have a primary function to create and maintain this tapestry. This includes establishment scientists and all service intellectuals in charge of “interpreting” reality.

In fact, the scientists and “experts” define reality in order to bring it into conformity  with the always-adapting dominant mental tapestry of the moment. They also invent and build new branches of the tapestry that serve specific power groups by providing new avenues of exploitation. These high priests are rewarded with high class status.

The Money Lie

The economists are a most significant example. It is probably not an accident that in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century the economists were the first professional analysts to be “broken in,” in a battle that defined the limits of academic freedom in universities. The academic system would from that point on impose a strict operational separation between inquiry and theorizing as acceptable and social reform as unacceptable [1].

Any academic wishing to preserve her position understood what this meant. As a side product, academics became virtuosos at nurturing a self-image of importance despite this fatal limitation on their societal relevance, with verbiage such as: The truth is our most powerful weapon, the pen is mightier than the sword, a good idea can change the world, reason will take us out of darkness, etc.

So the enterprise of economics became devoted to masking the lie about money. Bad lending practice, price fixing and monopolistic controls were the main threats to the natural justice of a free market, and occurred only as errors in a mostly self-regulating system that could be moderated via adjustments of interest rates and other “safeguards.”

Debt

A debt-based economy to enslave the people was established after the appearance of fractional reserve banking.

Meanwhile no mainstream economic theory makes any mention of the fact that money itself is created wholesale in a fractional reserve banking system owned by secret private interests given a licence to fabricate and deliver debt that must be paid back (with interest) from the real economy, thereby continuously concentrating ownership and power over all local and regional economies.

The rest of us have to earn money rather than simply fabricate it and we never own more when we die. The middle class either pays rent or a mortgage. Wage slavery is perpetuated and degraded in stable areas and installed in its most vicious varieties in all newly conquered territories.

It is quite remarkable that the largest exploitation scam (private money creation as debt) ever enacted and applied to the entire planet does not figure in economic theories.

Economists are so busy modeling the ups and downs of profits, returns, employment figures, stock values, and the benefits of mergers for mid-level exploiters that they don’t notice their avoidance of the foundational elements. They model the construction schedule while refusing to acknowledge that the terrain is an earthquake zone with vultures circling overhead.

Meanwhile the financiers write and re-write the rules themselves and again this process does not figure in macroeconomic theories. The only human element that economists consider in their “predictive” mathematical models is low-level consumer behaviour, not high-level system manipulation. Corruption is the norm yet it does not figure. The economies, cultures and infrastructures of nations are wilfully destroyed in order to enslave via new and larger national debts for generations into the future while economists forecast alleged catastrophic consequences of defaulting on these debts…

Management tools for the bosses and smoke and mirrors for the rest of us – thank you expert economists.

The Medicine is Health Lie

We’ve all heard some MD (medical doctor) interviewed on the radio gratuitously make the bold proposal that life expectancy has increased thanks to modern medicine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Life expectancy has increased in First World countries thanks to a historical absence of civil and territorial wars, better and more accessible food, less work and non-work accidents, and better overall living and working conditions. The single strongest indicator of personal health within and between countries is economy status, irrespective of access to medical technology and pharmaceuticals.

It’s worse than that because medicine actually has a negative impact on health. Medical errors (not counting misattributed deaths

Modern medicine forgot about the power of natural cures and decided to create artificial toxic alternatives.

from correctly administered “treatments”) are the third leading cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer, and there is a large gap between this conservative underestimate in the number of medical error deaths and the fourth leading cause of death [2]. Since medicine can do little for heart disease and cancer and since medicine has only a small statistical positive impact in the area of trauma interventions, we conclude that public health would increase if all MDs simply disappeared. And think of all the time loss and stress that sick people would save…

One of the most dangerous places in society is the hospital. Medical errors include misdiagnoses, bad prescriptions, prescriptions of medications that should not be combined, unnecessary surgery, unnecessary or badly administered treatments including chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and corrective surgeries.

The lie extends to the myth that MDs anywhere near understand the human body. And this well guarded lie encourages us to put our faith in doctors, thereby opening the door to a well orchestrated profit bonanza for big pharma.

The first thing that Doctors Without Borders (MSF) volunteers need to do in order to contribute significantly in disaster zones is to “forget their medical training” and get to work on the priority tasks at hand: water, food, shelter, and disease propagation prevention; not vaccinating, or operating, or prescribing medication… Public health comes from safety, stability, social justice, and economic buying power, not MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) units and prescription drugs.

These bone heads routinely apply unproven “recommended treatments” and prescribe dangerous drugs for everything from high blood pressure from a sedentary lifestyle and bad nutrition, to apathy at school, to anxiety in public places, to post-adolescence erectile function, to non-conventional sleep patterns, and to all the side effects from the latter drugs.

In professional yet nonetheless remarkable reversals of logic, doctors prescribe drugs to remove symptoms that are risk indicators rather than address the causes of the risks, thereby only adding to the assault on the body.

It’s unbelievable the number that medicine has done on us: Just one more way to keep us stupid (ignorant about our own bodies) and artificially dependent on the control hierarchy. Economically disadvantaged people don’t die from not having access to medical “care” – They die from the life constraints and liabilities directly resulting from poverty. How many MDs have stated this obvious truth on the radio?

Environmental Science Lies

Exploitation via resource extraction, land use expropriation, and wage slavery creation and maintenance are devastating to indigenous populations and to the environment on continental scales. It is therefore vital to cover up the crimes under a veil of expert analysis and policy development diversion. A valued class of service intellectuals here is composed of the environmental scientists and consultants.

Environmental scientists naively and knowingly work hand in hand with finance-corporate shysters, mainstream media, politicians, and state and international bureaucrats to mask real problems and to create profit opportunities for select power elites. Here are notable examples of specific cases.

Freon and Ozone

Do you know of anyone who has been killed by the ozone hole?

The 1987 Montreal Protocol banning chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is considered a textbook case where science and responsible governance lead to a landmark treaty for the benefit of the Earth and all its inhabitants. How often does that happen?

At about the time that the DuPont patent on Freon(TM), the most widely used CFC refrigerant in the world, was expiring the mainstream media picked up on otherwise arcane scientific observations and hypotheses about ozone concentration in the upper atmosphere near the poles.

There resulted an international mobilization to criminalize CFCs and DuPont developed and patented a replacement refrigerant that was promptly certified for use.

A Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded in 1995 for a laboratory demonstration that CFCs could deplete ozone in simulated atmospheric conditions. In 2007 it was shown that the latter work may have been seriously flawed by overestimating the depletion rate by an order of magnitude, thereby invalidating the proposed mechanism for CFC-driven ozone depletion [3]. Not to mention that any laboratory experiment is somewhat different from the actual upper atmosphere… Is the Nobel tainted by media and special interest lobbying?

It gets better. It turns out that the Dupont replacement refrigerant is, not surprisingly, not as inert as was Freon. As a result it corrodes refrigerator cycle components at a much faster rate. Where home refrigerators and freezers lasted forever, they now burn out in eight years or so. This has caused catastrophic increases in major appliance contributions to land fill sites across North America; spurred on by the green propaganda for obscenely efficient electrical consumptions of the new appliances under closed door (zero use) conditions.

Sun over-exposure as well as artificial tanning are dangerous, not sun exposure.

In addition, we have been frenzied into avoiding the sun, the UV index keeps our fear of cancer and our dependence on the medical establishment alive, and a new sun block industry a la vampire protection league has been spawned. And of course star university chemists are looking for that perfect sun block molecule that can be patented by big pharma. And as soon as it is, I predict a surge in media interviews with skin cancer experts…

Acid Rain on the Boreal Forest

In the seventies it was acid rain. Thousands of scientists from around the world (Northern Hemisphere) studied this “most pressing environmental problem on the planet.” The boreal forest is the largest ecosystem on Earth and its millions of lakes were reportedly being killed by acid from the sky.

Coal burning plants spewed out sulphides into the atmosphere causing the rain to be acidic. The acid rain was postulated to acidify the soils and lakes in the boreal forest but the acidification was virtually impossible to detect. Pristine lakes in the hearts of national parks had to be studied for decades in attempts to detect a statistically significant acidification.

Meanwhile the lakes and their watersheds were being destroyed by the cottage industry, agriculture, forestry, mining, over fishing and tourism. None of the local and regional destruction was studied or exposed. Instead, scientists turned their gaze to distant coal burning plants, atmospheric distribution, and postulated chemical reactions occurring in rain droplets. One study found that the spawning in aquarium of one fish species was extremely sensitive to acidity (pH). Long treatises about cation charge balance and transport were written and attention was diverted away from the destruction on the ground towards a sanitized problem of atmospheric chemistry that was the result of industrialization and progress rather than being caused by identifiable exploiters.

As a physicist and Earth scientist turned environmental scientist, I personally read virtually every single scientific paper written about acid rain and could not find an example of a demonstrated negative impact on lakes or forests from acid rain. In my opinion, contrary to the repeated claims of the scientist authors, the research on acid rain demonstrates that acid rain could not possibly have been the problem.

This model of elite-forces-coordinated exploiter whitewashing was to play itself out on an even grander scale only decades later with global warming.

Global Warming as a Threat to Humankind

In 2005 and 2006, several years before the November 2009 Climategate scandal burst the media bubble that buoyed public opinion towards acceptance of carbon credits, cap and trade, and the associated trillion dollar finance bonanza that may still come to pass, I exposed the global warming cooptation scam in an essay that Alexander Cockburn writing in The Nation called “one of the best essays on greenhouse myth-making from a left perspective” [4][5][6].

My essay prompted David F. Noble to research the question and write The Corporate Climate Coup to expose how the media embrace followed the finance sector’s realization of the unprecedented potential for revenues that going green could represent [7].

Introductory paragraphs from Global Warming: Truth or Dare? are as follows [4]:

“I also advance that there are strong societal, institutional, and psychological motivations for having constructed and for continuing to maintain the myth of a global warming dominant threat (global warming myth, for short). I describe these motivations in terms of the workings of the scientific profession and of the global corporate and finance network and its government shadows.”

“I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized.”

Other passages read this way [4]:

“Environmental scientists and government agencies get funding to study and monitor problems that do not threaten corporate and financial interests. It is therefore no surprise that they would attack continental-scale devastation from resource extraction via the CO2 back door. The main drawback with this strategy is that you cannot control a hungry monster by asking it not to shit as much.”

“Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middle class. Nobody else cares about global warming. Exploited factory workers in the Third World don’t care about global warming. Depleted uranium genetically mutilated children in Iraq don’t care about global warming. Devastated aboriginal populations the world over also can’t relate to global warming, except maybe as representing the only solidarity that we might volunteer.”

“It’s not about limited resources. [“The amount of money spent on pet food in the US and Europe each year equals the additional amount needed to provide basic food and health care for all the people in poor countries, with a sizeable amount left over.” (UN Human Development Report, 1999)] It’s about exploitation, oppression, racism, power, and greed. Economic, human, and animal justice brings economic sustainability which in turn is always based on renewable practices. Recognizing the basic rights of native people automatically moderates resource extraction and preserves natural habitats. Not permitting imperialist wars and interventions automatically quenches nation-scale exploitation. True democratic control over monetary policy goes a long way in removing debt-based extortion. Etc.”

And there is a thorough critique of the science as band wagon trumpeting and interested self-deception [4]. Climategate only confirms what should be obvious to any practicing scientist: That science is a mafia when it’s not simply a sleeping pill.

Conclusion

It just goes on and on. What is not a lie?

Look at the recent H1N1 scam – another textbook example. It’s farcical how far these circuses go: Antiseptic gels in every doorway at the blink of an eye; high school students getting high from drinking the alcohol in the gels; out datedness of the viral strain before the pre-paid vaccine can be mass produced; unproven effectiveness; no requirement to prove effectiveness; government guarantees to corporate manufacturers against client lawsuits; university safety officers teaching students how to cough; etc.

Pure madness. Has something triggered our genetically ingrained First World stupidity reflex? Is this part of our march towards fascism [8]?

Here is another one. Educators promote the lie that we learn because we are taught. This lie of education is squarely denounced by radical educators [9][10].

University professors design curricula as though the students actually learn every element that is delivered whereas the truth is that students don’t learn the delivered material and everyone only learns what they learn. One could dramatically change the order in which courses are delivered and it would make no measurable difference in how much students learn. Students deliver nonsense and professors don’t care. Obedience and indoctrination are all that matter so the only required skill is bluffing. Students know this and those that don’t don’t know what they know, don’t know themselves [8][9][10].

Pick any expert opinion or dominant paradigm: It’s part of a racket.

We can’t know the truth because the truth is brutal.

Denis G. Rancourt was a tenured and full professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He was trained as a physicist and practiced physics, Earth sciences, and environmental science, areas in which he was funded by a national agency and ran an internationally recognized laboratory. He published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals. He developed popular activism courses and was an outspoken critic of the university administration and a defender of Palestinian rights. He was fired for his dissidence in 2009. [See www.academicfreedom.ca]

Notes

[1] “No Ivory Tower – book” by Ellen W. Schrecker.
[2] Radio interview with Dr. Barbara Starfield: CHUO 89.1 FM, Ottawa; January 21, 2010.
[3] Nature 449, 382-383 (2007).
[4] “Global Warming: Truth or Dare? – essay” by Denis G. Rancourt.
[5] “Questioning Climate Politics – Denis Rancourt says the ‘global warming myth’ is part of the problem”; April 11, 2007, interview in The Dominion.
[6] Climate Guy blog.
[7] “The Corporate Climate Coup – essay” by David F. Noble.
[8] “Canadian Education as an Impetus towards Fascism – essay” by Denis G. Rancourt.
[9] “Pedagogy of the Oppressed – book” by Paulo Freire.
[10] “The Ignorant Schoolmaster – book” by Jacques Rancière.

BP to blame in explosion, internal documents show

AP

The secret we all knew: BP cut corners days before platform explosion.

BP made a series of money-saving shortcuts and blunders that dramatically increased the danger of a destructive oil spill in a well that an engineer ominously described as a “nightmare” just six days before the blowout, according to documents released Monday that provide new insight into the causes of the disaster.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee released dozens of internal documents that outline several problems on the deep-sea rig in the days and weeks before the April 20 explosion that set in motion the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Investigators found that BP was badly behind schedule on the project and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars with each passing day, and responded by cutting corners in the well design, cementing and drilling mud efforts and the installation of key safety devices.

“Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense. If this is what happened, BP’s carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants, and the workers on the rig,” said Democratic Reps. Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak.

The missteps emerged on the same day that President Barack Obama made his fourth visit to the Gulf, where he sought to assure beleaguered residents that the government will “leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before.”

Obama’s two-day trip to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida represents his latest attempt to persevere through a crisis that has served as an important early test of his presidency. The visit coincides with a national address from the Oval Office on Tuesday night in which he will announce new steps to restore the Gulf Coast ecosystem, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage the president’s announcements.

“I can’t promise folks … that the oil will be cleaned up overnight. It will not be,” Obama said after encouraging workers in hard hats as they hosed off and repaired oil-blocking boom. “It’s going to be painful for a lot of folks.”

But, he said, “things are going to return to normal.”

The breached well has dumped as much as 114 million gallons of oil into the Gulf under the worst-case scenario described by scientists — a rate of more than 2 million a day. BP has collected 5.6 million gallons of oil through its latest containment cap on top of the well, or about 630,000 gallons per day.

But BP believes it will see considerable improvements in the next two weeks. The company said Monday that it could trap a maximum of roughly 2.2 million gallons of oil each day by the end of June as it deploys additional containment efforts, including a system that could start burning off vast quantities as early as Tuesday. That would more than triple the amount of oil it is currently capturing — and be a huge relief for those trying to keep it from hitting the shore.

“It would be a game changer,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mark Boivin, deputy director for near-shore operations at a command center in Mobile. He works with a team that coordinates the efforts of roughly 80 skimming boats gathering oil off the coast.

Still, BP warned its containment efforts could face problems if hoses or pipes clog and engineers struggle to run the complicated collection system. Early efforts at the bottom of the Gulf failed to capture oil.

Meanwhile, congressional investigators have identified several mistakes by BP in the weeks leading up to the disaster as it fell way behind on drilling the well.

BP started drilling in October, only to have the rig damaged by Hurricane Ida in early November. The company switched to a new rig, the Deepwater Horizon, and resumed drilling on Feb. 6. The rig was 43 days late for its next drilling location by the time it exploded April 20, costing BP at least $500,000 each day it was overdue, congressional documents show.

As BP found itself in a frantic race against time to get the job done, engineers took several time-saving measures, according to congressional investigators.

In the design of the well, the company apparently chose a riskier option among two possibilities to provide a barrier to the flow of gas in space surrounding steel tubes in the well, documents and internal e-mails show. The decision saved BP $7 million to $10 million; the original cost estimate for the well was about $96 million.

In an e-mail, BP engineer Brian Morel told a fellow employee that the company is likely to make last-minute changes in the well.

“We could be running it in 2-3 days, so need a relative quick response. Sorry for the late notice, this has been nightmare well which has everyone all over the place,” Morel wrote.

The e-mail chain culminated with the following message by another worker: “This has been a crazy well for sure.”

BP also apparently rejected advice of a subcontractor, Halliburton Inc., in preparing for a cementing job to close up the well. BP rejected Halliburton’s recommendation to use 21 “centralizers” to make sure the casing ran down the center of the well bore. Instead, BP used six centralizers.

In an e-mail on April 16, a BP official involved in the decision explained: “It will take 10 hours to install them. I do not like this.” Later that day, another official recognized the risks of proceeding with insufficient centralizers but commented: “Who cares, it’s done, end of story, will probably be fine.”

The lawmakers also said BP also decided against a nine- to 12-hour procedure known as a “cement bond log” that would have tested the integrity of the cement. A team from Schlumberger, an oil services firm, was on board the rig, but BP sent the team home on a regularly scheduled helicopter flight the morning of April 20.

Less than 12 hours later, the rig exploded.

BP also failed to fully circulate drilling mud, a 12-hour procedure that could have helped detect gas pockets that later shot up the well and exploded on the drilling rig.

Asked about the details disclosed from the investigation, BP spokesman Mark Proegler said the company’s main focus right now is on the response and stopping the flow of oil. “It would be inappropriate for us to comment while an investigation is ongoing,” Proegler told AP. BP executives including CEO Tony Hayward will be questioned by Congress on Thursday.

The letter from Waxman and Stupak noted at least five questionable decisions BP made before the explosion, and was supplemented by 61 footnotes and dozens of documents.

“The common feature of these five decisions is that they posed a trade-off between cost and well safety,” said Waxman and Stupak. Waxman, D-Calif., chairs the energy panel while Stupak, D-Mich., heads a subcommittee on oversight and investigations.