Disenfranchised Citizen

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Republican coincidence and payroll tax holidays…

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"The finest day that I've ever had, was when I learned to cry on command..."

At the end of this month the payroll tax holiday will expire, and if allowed to lapse, it will come as a tax increase for working lower and middle class Americans. The Democrats, including Obama, are in favor of an extension while many Republicans are not. Many Republicans are demanding the extension be offset by spending cuts elsewhere or simply done away with altogether.

Why? Simple…

According to Macroeconomic Advisers, allowing it to lapse “would reduce GDP growth by 0.5 percent and cost the economy 400,000 jobs.” An analyst at Barclay’s estimated that letting the cut expire would knock 1.5 percent off of first quarter growth next year. Ameriprise Financial Services, meanwhile, estimated that extending the cut “is likely to add between 750,000 to 1 million jobs.” “Payroll tax cuts are very powerful,” added Allen Sinai, chief economist of Decision Economics. “They provide a boost to direct income and, in turn, spending, which is important to growth.”

Oh wait…forget that part…no, the reason some Republicans would be so willing to let it expire is our out of control deficit…fiscal prudence at its best, yes-sir, so fiscally responsible these Republicans, the cult of Norquist clan, they would allow a tax cut to expire. What an example of sacrifice? Imagine that, they finally agreed, not all tax cuts could be forever sacrosanct…oh, and the fact this party is oft accused of defending only the wealthy, and the fact this tax cut only benefits the working poor and middle class, not the wealthy…

I’m sure this is coincidence.

Has to be.

Just as I’m also sure it is only coincidence the Bush tax cuts, those gifts to the rich and a large part of our current deficit, weren’t required to be paid for while the payroll tax holiday, so many Republicans demand, must be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Yes, this Republican coincidence is but one of many these days…

Take a look at the job creators, for instance. Nick Hanauer, a successful venture capitalist recently wrote an op-ed, stating:

Consider, for example, that a puny 3 percent surtax on incomes above $1 million would be enough to maintain and expand the current payroll tax cut beyond December, preventing a $1,000 increase on the average worker’s taxes at the worst possible time for the economy. With a few more pennies on the dollar, we could invest in rebuilding schools and infrastructure. And even if we imposed a millionaires’ surtax and rolled back the Bush- era tax cuts for those at the top, the taxes on the richest Americans would still be historically low, and their incomes would still be astronomically high…Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Middle-class consumers do, and when they thrive, U.S. businesses grow and profit.

Yet, the Republicans would rather it be discovered they wet the bed than raise taxes on the wealthy, on those job creators…God save the job creators, even if they call bullshit on their actual ability to create jobs…and I suppose this only makes no sense at all, none…I mean, the Bush tax cuts have been in effect for what, 10 years or so, yet strangely enough we’ve had a recession, we’ve watched a looting of pension plans, a housing collapse and high sustained unemployment for years… And through it all, the fact those taxes on the wealthy, meant to create jobs have done everything but create jobs?

Coincidence.

But I digress, back to that tax break the Republicans are so sketchy about, the one that coincidentally doesn’t help the wealthiest of this country…when John Boehner was asked if letting the tax cut expire would hurt the economy, he replied, “I’m not an economist. I don’t know what kind of impact it’s going to have on the economy.”

Not an economist?

Yet he was sure the deficit didn’t matter when Bush was president, growing exponentially due to unfunded wars, tax breaks for the wealthy and that huge gift bag to pharmaceutical companies.

Just as he is now sure, that since Bush is no longer President, the deficit is destroying America as we know it, that if allowed to continue, not only will the deficit destroy our ability to manufacture American flags for the waving, but your mother’s apple pie? As a country, we will no longer be able to support the cost involved in using ovens, ever again. We will be one flag-less pie-less country, that much closer to gay marriage if we don’t do something about the deficit, like yesterday. He means…now. 

Oh, but that Boehner suddenly lost his economist credentials, that he devolved into financial confusion when it was time for this tax break that doesn’t expressly help the wealthy?

Another matter of simple coincidence.

However…to be fair…Boehner has come around the past day or so, the GOP is coming around and now say the payroll tax holiday should be passed. John himself has said, ““The fact is that Republicans are doing everything we can to allow American families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn.”

Course, that was Public John Boehner. And what did Private John have to say about the payroll tax holiday?

Well, behind closed doors, he told his membership they were pushing a package that not only included the extension, but also more environmental deregulation, more sales of broadband spectrum and a change in policy to help pass the Keystone XL pipeline so, you know, he could  turn “chicken shit into chicken salad.”

The ingredients of chicken salad of course being heavier pollution, sick kids, global warming, monopolies on spectrum leading to a lack of diversity on our airwaves, and a big fucking pipe to take oil all the way across our country from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, oil from tar sands development which is about as environmentally friendly as, well, as most Republican policy.  

Oh, and that John Boehner didn’t refer to this tax break, which doesn’t help the wealthy, as “chicken shit” in public?

Coincidence…you know it.

Yes…coincidence…of course this is what it is, what all of this is.

Cutting taxes on job creators so they continue to not create jobs, unfunded tax breaks for the wealthy while tax breaks for the working poor and middle class must be offset by spending cuts, spectrum sales and pollution, and Boehners ability to be an arch-economist who sometimes, economically speaking, is dumb as a stump…

All of it coincidence…surely.

What other explanation is there?

Have a nice day.

Feds, Coast Guard, join BP to prove they’ve learned very little…

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This was very unlikely to not have happened, or not ever happen again...maybe...

In two developments this past week, British Petroleum officially welcomed the Coast Guard and the Federal Government to their party that history forgot. Behind the ivy covered walls, steel doors and security guards of BP headquarters, Bob Dudley toasted Coast Guard Captain, Julia Heim and BOEMRE head, Michael Bromwich, celebrating a rousing relapse of maritime irresponsibility and forgetfulness. Toast completed, Bob turned on the tequila fountain, shaped like a deepwater oil rig, and they all took an extra shot for luck…

Whereupon a few Gulf Coast journalists decided to go and wreck the party by writing a few editorials to ask Julia and Michael…um, what the hell, remember the whole oil spill, corporate irresponsibility thing?

Julia and Michael, you remember all that, right?

Well, apparently Julia, the Coast Guard Captain, doesn’t remember shit because while the Coast Guard signed an agreement with BP, transitioning the clean-up portion of the response towards one of coastal recovery, she seemed to forget a few very important details. Not only does the agreement allow BP to pretty much weasel their way out of any more clean-up and its accompanying costs, she forgot to specify any long-term monitoring of the Gulf Coast. Captain Hein also left out any part where BP continues to pay for aerial monitoring of the Macondo well site.

Yeah, bang-up job, Ms. Hein.

So, all this means that if/when oil comes into the Louisiana wetlands and marshes it will now be up to the public to discover and report it. Then, the state will have to prove it is actually BP oil, which as the oil degrades will become increasingly impossible to do, which in turn will leave the state on the line to pay for the clean-up. When Tropical Storm Lee hit on Labor Day and dumped tar mats, tar balls and other assorted tar products…BP’s clean-up was very slow and when the next storm hits, it will be even slower, or not come at all…thanks to the Coast Guard and their bullshit agreement. Not to mention all those oil slicks they kept discovering this fall by the Macondo Well. Remember? BP and the Coast Guard denied the slicks even existed, until they were photographed by a non-profit group. Then they denied the slicks were in the vicinity of the Macondo site, until it was shown they were, and finally, they then denied the oil actually came from the Macondo well until journalists had tests run, proving them wrong for a third time.

Now, any more monitoring is on the state dime.

Garret Graves, chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority said of the Coast Guard’s relationship with BP, it’s “like they’re a victim of Stockholm Syndrome,” referring to a phenomenon in which hostages become sympathetic to their captors, but I disagree. The Coast Guard never seemed like a hostage at all, more of  a willing participant or co-conspirator in this agreement, one which Louisiana representatives refused to sign, a fact Julia and the Coast Guard simply ignored, going ahead with the agreement regardless. No, that ain’t a hostage, that’s someone with an open invite to party with Bob.

Which brings us to the other party guest, Mr. Michael Bromwich…

This individual currently runs what was formerly the MMS, that lovely regulatory agency that was doing blow and hookers with the oil company reps they were supposed to be monitoring. No wonder the Deepwater Horizon blew up, hard to see a design flaw in the specs when the design prints are on a table covered with empty beer cans. Now, as we all know, the MMS is the BOEMRE, a much more catchy acronym that stands for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, and with this new moniker came a brand new seriousness about safety, or so we’ve all been told, but then they go and release to the public a draft called the “Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.” The point of the BOEMRE’S OCSOGPEIS is to analyze and weigh the “environmental implications of continued drilling in federal waters between 2012 and 2017,” also, “the economic analysis associated with the new impact statement projects the potential for future spills and the damage they might cause based on all “spills from 1964-2010 excluding the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon (DWH) event.””

Wait, what?

So, when this agency estimated environmental impacts and possibilities of a spill by analyzing data from the past, they decided to leave out the economic and environmental impacts of the biggest oil spill in United States history?

Why, because it screwed up the curve?

Believe it or not…that’s precisely why. From the report and accompanying article, “If a more recent period is chosen (1990-2009)” for the risk analysis. For instance, using only the 19 years prior to the BP spill in the environmental analysis, the report concludes, this would further “decrease the anticipated environmental costs” of continued drilling.”

You see, if we just kind of leave out the whole millions of barrels spilled, millions of gallons of Corexit dispersant dumped, eleven people dead thing from last summer, well then, deepwater drilling not only looks more economically beneficial but damnit, wouldn’t you know it is environmentally sound, too? Really, no fooling.

Course another take on it could be: “By omitting the nation’s largest environmental disaster from its calculation of the environmental costs of drilling, BOEMRE continues to bury its head in the sand and pretend that the Deepwater Horizon accident never happened,” Catherine Wannamaker, with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in an emailed statement. Wannamaker said that even low-probability events such as the Deepwater Horizon blowout must be included when looking at the economic and environmental costs of offshore drilling, “BOEMRE tries to move forward without truly accounting for these risks and costs,” Wannamaker said. “This is not a responsible course of action for a supposedly reformed agency.”

How much you wanna bet Ms. Wannamaker never gets invited to any of Bob’s parties.

Well, she wouldn’t be the only one because it sure seems these get togethers are not meant for you and I, especially if we have a vested interest in not only ensuring BOEMRE fulfills its responsibilities by monitoring the oil companies and all of these wells, but also that British Petroleum is not allowed to walk away from their responsibilities in the Gulf as they seem hell-bent on doing, with the complicity of BOEMRE, the Coast Guard and the Obama Administration.

Remember back when the oil spill first happened? Congress was truly up in arms and they promised to regulate this, enforce that, do whatever they had to do to ensure a preventable tragedy such as the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon could never happen again…so they declared, promised, wrote out in blood, but when push came to shove, Congress passed nothing. Well, the Coast Guard’s bullshit agreement and BOEMRES skewed numbers are just more of this same pattern. Both agencies like to talk about the unlikelihood of such catastrophic events. Yeah, that’s great and all, this ongoing unlikelihood…but it sure as hell don’t keep the coast safe and it didn’t keep those eleven men on the Deepwater Horizon alive.

What the Gulf Coast and this entire country needs, right now, is for the government to finally step up and proceed with true regulation and actual enforcement of industry, because if there’s one thing we know, they sure as hell aren’t going to do it themselves.

Have a nice day.

British Petroleum says to hell with public relatons, we’re gonna screw everybody we can…

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Sick kids? Yeah...I know, like Christmas and oil spills all wrapped together...

It’s official.

“Making things right,” has been declared dead.

The priest has been to the hospital, performed last rites and was then thrown through the glass doors and spit upon by current British Petroleum CEO Bob Dudley, who whipped around, his black duster flapping lazily in the fall breeze, before he strode back into the hospital. Word is he was heading towards the pediatric ward to see if he could dash the hopes of any sick children, pull out their IV’s, blow his nose on their lunch trays.

And in the process, BP’s entire public relations department had a panic attack…

Why? What happened? How has this come to be?

Well, British Petroleum is trying to screw over participants of the VoO program still, while shrugging their shoulders at non-payment of workers and businesses who lost money as a result of the drilling moratorium. Oh, and didn’t you know they’ve signed an agreement with their trusty sidekick, the Coast Guard to agree the clean-up is for all intent and purposes over and when it comes to the trial beginning in February, those two big ‘ol reports the government did? They want those reports excluded from the trial, as well as any other litigation brought against BP in the past…

Making things right, for British Petroleum…but for the Gulf Coast?

Suck it.

When it comes to the VoO Program, 500 more fishermen have alleged in court they signed a contract with BP which states they would be paid a daily wage regardless of whether their boats are used until the contract is complete, which only occurs upon final decontamination of their boats. Turns out however, BP really scrimped on the decontamination supplies so many fishermen are still waiting for this, with unusable, oily boats. And of course, British Petroleum doesn’t want to actually pay these fishermen for waiting around for BP to complete their terms of the contract, so they actually sent out a new “transitional” contract, hoping some people would actually sign it and, you guessed it, the decontamination language is gone. Oh, and they sent this contract out in large part to Vietnamese fishermen who can’t read English.

Huh, fraud much?

So, on to that agreement with the Coast Guard; it’s a government plan to end most of BP’s responsibility for pretty much any more clean-up of any more oil that might contaminate beaches in the future. Not entirely, however…BP can still be on the hook for further cleaning, but first it must be proven the oil washing up is actually from the Macondo Well, which conveniently enough the company concedes, will be ever harder to prove as the oil continues to degrade. Also in this agreement, it is not specified who, if anybody, will be involved in long-term monitoring of the Gulf, regardless the lessons learned from continued problems with the major spills in Mexico and Alaska, problems which are continuing twenty years later. It should be noted Louisiana officials refused to approve of this Coast Guard plan, but BP and the Coast Guard had a novel solution for this potential problem…they have decided to just ignore Louisiana so therefore, no more problem.

Next, we come to that drilling moratorium. Bob and British Petroleum feel this moratorium is not their fault so they should not be responsible for any loss of income people or businesses may have suffered over those five months. You see, this was a solid case of arbitrariness at its best…that Obama character just loves to shut down drilling for no apparent reason. In fact, word is next week he’s going to pull the plug on every nuclear plant in the country, shutting them all down for six weeks because, well…because he’s the president and he can. Seriously though, of course the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States had nothing to do with that moratorium. That kind of cause and effect is more crap logic from business hating Democrats so this is why Bob feels BP should be totally off the hook on this one. To prove it, he plans to find the nearest bar where he will not only explain this in greater detail, but he’ll also show any fellow patron how natural gas fracking has nothing to do with earthquakes in Oklahoma…all while he does whiskey shot after shot until he’s sober.

Finally this week, BP has decided this whole trial thing in February just ain’t right, as is. British Petroleum went to a lot of trouble to buy so many scientists and science departments in Universities across the Gulf Coast, and thus being bought, unable to testify against them at trial. So it kind of flies in the face of that to have those two huge investigations by unbought government scientists and the resulting reports used against them at trial. Fair’s fair, right right? Hell, the Coast Guard report even said British Petroleum was ultimately responsible for the whole deal. This would be why they have asked for said reports to be excluded, oh and also excluded should be any other litigation brought against BP in the past, especially from places like Texas City and Prudhoe Bay. Bob would appear to feel this is certainly understandable as the last thing BP needs is their long record of mishaps be used to show a long pattern of mishaps.

Hey, details!

And the BP public relations department has officially passed out.

Really, who could blame them? They’ve been forced to eat this whole “Making things right” slogan for well over a year and it’s hard, really hard when your company CEO appears only concerned with making things right for the company shareholders, focused for the most part on the legal technicality and what he is legally obligated to do, instead of just sucking it up and doing the right thing, period.

I mean, hey, don’t get me wrong…the $20 billion escrow fund was a good thing in spirit…but Feinberg’s handling of it is a whole nother story and it almost seems at times this escrow fund’s main goal was to provide PR cover for BP to try and screw everybody and everything else they possibly could.

It’s kind of like the mediocre student whose content to just pass the course, rather than excel…yeah, Bob’s getting a D-.

So, to the Gulf Coast?

It would appear more and more, that unless you got the law, you are now officially on your own…not that you haven’t (really) been this way for a long enough time already…let’s just say BP finally ripped their mask clean off as it would appear they’ve decided moral bankruptcy and greed is back in style…

Have a nice day.

In a nutshell – another reason Jim DeMint and the Tea Party are complete frauds…

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“No, I know for a fact the Constitution expressly forbids global warming, therefore, anyone who speaks of it is committing treason…”

Jim DeMint, Senator and self-described Tea Party Rock Star who never saw a constitution he actually wanted to read, recently had this to say about job creation:

“DeMint argued, businesses want the government to oppose unions and eliminate regulations, which he said would create “certainty.” “What they want is some certainty. They want the regulators off their back. They want the National Labor Relations Board to stop pushing the union agenda and try to help companies that create jobs. So I don’t think the president is going to come out with things that are really going to create jobs,” DeMint said.”

Course, the actual nationwide survey of small business owners by McClatchy found that Jim DeMint is full of shit.

“None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.”

Yeah, but what these business owners don’t seem to get, as Jim DeMint would gladly tell them, is what they feel is important hardly fits the Tea Party profile and/or makes their campaign contributors money so it is quite obvious, those small business owners are horribly wrong about their own businesses, and probably socialists too.

Jim DeMint, what a self-serving asshole…

Have a nice day.

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