Posts Tagged ‘White House’
A recent editorial in the New Orleans Times-Picayune celebrated House Passage of an amendment to the transportation bill which mandated 80% of Clean Water Act fines levied against British Petroleum for their catastraphuk be earmarked to the Gulf States who suffered the damages. The editorial called this first step important. It noted how this was the House of Representatives making a public commitment to the Gulf Coast and never shall it be torn asunder.
I would love to be so optimistic.
I really would, but I can’t. History just won’t allow it.
Back in April of 2010, very soon after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, we were greeted with congressional slogans and promises by so many members giving impassioned speeches from the floor or telling any media outlet they could find just how they would take immediate action to ensure something like this oil spill would never happen again.
We’ll make drilling safer! We’ll make it clean! As your elected Congress, we will not rest until we fix the problems that led to this horrible, ongoing disaster…
And what laws were passed?
Essentially, none…in fact, what happened was quite the opposite as new laws were voted on which would accelerate the rate of drilling and open up newer, more sensitive areas to oil exploration all the while listing the same safety precautions that failed in the Gulf as their rock-solid protection against any future spills. So, with that recent history, you’ll have to pardon my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to passage of this amendment, because I just ain’t buying it this time. I want it to, but I have my doubts it’ll happen like they say, uh-uh, too easy. Congress is way too distracted with their endless pursuit of politically winning nothing at the expense of the other party.
But wait a minute, to be fair, it did pass and that’s something…right right?
Right, even though the amendment doesn’t actually authorize any payments, it only requires that the money be placed into a special fund. It is the RESTORE act, yet to be passed, which will do the dirty work of allocating these funds to the states. That’s when the politics will really come into play I fear – How much money does each state get? What can the money be used for, and how much? What do the states, and then the counties and then the towns have to do to get this money? And when do they get it?
Republicans will probably want to earmark as much money as possible for commercial development purposes at the expense of the overall environment, while the Democrats will be focused more on actual coastal restoration, and that’s when this whole thing will get so complicated, and so politicized and overwrought we get delays, name-calling and other assorted grandstanding bullshit on various news channels, so much so the whole process will take so much longer than it needs to, playing games with time the Gulf Coast is running out of.
Oh, and let’s not forget that the amendment itself was attached to a bullshit transportation bill which would not give enough money to maintain highways and roads, wind up cutting funds to public transportation all while it opens environmentally sensitive areas for more oil drilling, not to mention the bill also authorizes the Keystone XL pipeline, which the President has already come out against…
In other words, this bill is terrible and shouldn’t pass. This isn’t a first step, this is a political ploy and a dodge by the House of Representatives.
Can’t you just hear it?
Gosh golly gee, Louisiana, we wanted to give you guys all that money, but the Democrats and that damned White House…well, they said no way and voted us down…but we tried.
Right, though another way of putting this would be how hopefully, the Democrats refuse the GOP’s blackmail tactics, the same shit they’ve been running for the past year with the whole government shutdown, deficit reduction and ceiling, super committee give us everything we want or you get nothing…well, until the payroll tax extension blew up in their face.
Even the author of the amendment, Steve Scalise, isn’t making a whole lot of sense:
“Now that the House is on record supporting the dedication of these fines to the Gulf Coast states and to fully restoring the ecosystems and communities of the region, we will continue pressing forward with our colleagues in the Senate to pass the entire RESTORE Act into law.”
Again…so what if the House is on record? Who’ll call them onto the carpet if they change their minds, or water the amendment down, make it 60% or maybe 55% because you know, we have a deficit and those are federal funds…and Louisiana? You’re America’s sewer anyway so you’re used to getting screwed…oh, and on those same lines, I would appreciate if Mr. Scalise could explain to me just why the hell I’m supposed to suddenly believe the GOP House is committed to restoring ecosystems?
These are the same guys who are pushing forward the wholesale destruction of mountains in Appalachia, not to mention the poisoning of our nation’s water supplies through natural gas fracking. The destruction of ecosystems is kind of a GOP trademark. The Democrats aren’t innocent either, but at least they pretend to care and pass half-measures. Hell, the House GOP wasted how much time bringing back incandescent light bulbs?
And at what point does Eric Cantor finally find himself a microphone and demand spending cuts to offset this money because even though the cash’ll be coming from BP, it would normally go to the Federal treasury so in not doing so this time around, isn’t that really additional Federal spending, albeit indirectly? So we better cut Medicare, Social Security and oh, why not food stamps this time if you want your money. Why wouldn’t he try it? This is the same high-strung yuppie villain who initially demanded offsets for disaster funding going to tornado victims in his own state, and he’s in the House GOP leadership.
You really think he cares about states he doesn’t live in?
So yeah, the editorial board at the Times-Picayune calls this amendment an important step forward, and I want to believe it but I have to disagree. I think right now, I can’t consider this more than wishful thinking…because if there’s one thing we know to watch out for when it comes to the first steps of politicians, it’s to dodge immediately left so you don’t get run over when they take their two steps back.
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It just keeps getting funnier, except it’s not…
In this past week, it has been reported how, in the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, British Petroleum had demanded via e-mail that it’s own expert be kept quiet when he gave his opinion stating 82,000 barrels of crude a day were coming from the Macondo Well. In fact, two days after ordering his silence, BP publicly announced their estimate that the flow rate was only 1,000 barrels per day. And of course, this report comes on the heels of another showing how the White House had been trying to get the United States Geologic Survey to downgrade its flow rate estimates in public statements too, reducing the USGS estimate of at least 25,000 barrels of oil per day coming from the well to a number the NIC thought sounded better, 12,000 to 25,000 barrels or better still, the estimate a White House Communications officer suggested, 12,000 – 19,000 barrels per day. Oh, and who can forget the wrongful termination lawsuit being filed by August Walters where he claims to have been fired by BP a couple of months back because he wouldn’t modify clean-up data to make the beaches appear cleaner on paper than they in fact truly were, thus allowing BP to say they’d turned the corner and in light if this data, come to an agreement with the Coast Guard to officially move from cleanup to restoration, all while eagerly anticipating the stock bump to come from such an announcement.
Yes, these are the assholes in charge making things right along the Gulf Coast, and yes, the oil company mentioned in the above paragraph is the same British Petroleum putting out all those feel good commercials telling you how everything is just swell now. Hey! The economy, the seafood and the jobs are back!
And now, today even, when it comes to that same oil company and that same government, I’m sure if you asked, they’d go on and on to tell you how it would be impossible for the low-balling of flow-rate numbers that lead to a potentially flawed cleanup response based on their bad data, and how the fact there is still more unaccounted for oil in the Gulf of Mexico than was spilled from the Exxon Valdez…yeah, they’ll tell you how none of this has anything to do with more dead dolphins…even if there still is oil along the Louisiana coast.
Of course not.
That would be fucking ridiculous, and potentially unprofitable…
“Since the beginning of the month, 14 marine mammals, including a dozen dolphins, have been found along the northern Gulf of Mexico. Half of the dead dolphins washed up on the Louisiana coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calls it an “Unusual Mortality Event” in the northern Gulf and next month will mark two years since it began. The tally so far: 630 dead.
The event started in February of 2010 – two months before the oil spill began. Still, the deaths raise a red flag with the Gulf Restoration Network. “The ongoing death of these dolphins speaks to the idea that we haven’t seen all of the impacts from the BP oil drilling disaster end yet,” said Dan Favre of the Gulf Restoration Network.
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It really is this simple:
At the height of British Petroleum’s catastraphuk…the scientists involved from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) were estimating at least 25,000 barrels per day were gushing from the well.
But, the National Incident Command suggested they report the flow rate to be between 12,000-25,000 barrels per day.
And a White House Communications person suggested they report the flow rate at 12,000-19,000 barrels per day.
However, part one:
Both would have been a lie, because as previously noted the USGS were estimating a minimum of 25,000 barrels per day and now…21 months later…the above-mentioned facts come out, that the White House was trying to downplay the amount of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico and unlike 21 months ago, nobody’s really paying attention anymore so it’ll be pretty much like it never happened…even though, all their bullshit obfuscations resulted in a less effective response to this spill.
Hey, it’s all politics, baby.
However, part two:
So then, tonight, when all over the fucking television will be Mitt Romney giving his pre-State of the Union Speech to be followed by Barack Obama giving his actual State of the Union Speech, to then be followed by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels giving a GOP rebuttal to the State of the Union Speech – what one might ask is what will all these asshole politicians be lying to you about now?
And do you really care?
And if you do care, what are you willing to do about it?
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Remember last June, when the Macondo Well was still spewing oil, and Tony Hayward appeared at the congressional hearing where Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tx apologized to Tony’s company for the actions of the Obama administrations, suggesting the creation of British Petroleum’s $20 billion dollar escrow fund came only after a White House “shakedown”?
Yeah, and then everybody freaked out (even Boehner) and Barton backtracked reporting his apology wasn’t really an apology, it was more of a “misconstrued misconstruction.”
Yeah, but then Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tx, defended Joe Barton by saying:
“…the part that Representative Barton is expressing some concern about, that I share the concern, is this has really become a political issue for the President and he’s trying to deal with it by showing how tough he’s being against BP. The problem is BP’s the only one who really is in control of shutting down this well, and he’s trying to mitigate, I think, his own political problems.”
The media had it all wrong according to John.
You see, Rep. Barton, long up the ass of big oil, was not trying to apologize to his masters at all, he was just pissed that Obama wasn’t joining he and Mr. Cornyn in British Petroleum’s anal cavity, not even after they’d gotten him a chair, set the table, promised to be on their best behavior, not even after British Petroleum gave Obama all that campaign money. No, John was just trying to point out, to demonstrate that Obama was another Democrat playing politics with tragedy, and even worse, at the time he was playing politics better than Republicans like Bobby Jindal who could only muster up a helicopter ride, which financially wasn’t helping anybody. Obama was certainly playing politics better than John Cornyn whose idea of smart politicking was to apologize for a fellow Texan who apologized to the oil company who screwed up the entire Gulf of Mexico.
Asshole…then and now, but why now, you might ask?
As the Senate Bill that would guarantee 80% of the fines levied against BP be given to the Gulf Coast states comes out of committee, ready to be voted on by the full Senate, Sen. James Imhofe, R-Okla (another asshole) has decided to raise objections to this bill for a few reasons, one of them being his disappointment that not all ten of the senators from the Gulf Coast signed on in favor.
Nine did, but one lone Senator saw fit to hold out.
Guess which one.
Yeah…Sen. John Cornyn.
Maybe he just couldn’t find his way out of Joe Barton or BP’s ass.
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Barack Obama gave his State of the Union speech last night and did his best George W Bush impression by not mentioning Louisiana and coastal restoration. He also did his best to avoid such a foreign concept as global warming, and when it came to Ken Feinberg’s GCCF and that oil spill, that whole British Petroleum thing that happened down there in the Gulf, well…
It would appear that was so last year.
Too bad that for the people of the Gulf Coast, it remains so today, so right now.
From Florida Oil Spill Law:
“Really Alarming” No baby oysters being found in most productive areas of Louisiana – “Scientists are baffled.”
“All the fish are dead” Trout now washing up on beach near Galveston, TX.
Bumble Bee Seafood shuts down processing plant near New Orleans, moves to Thailand – Official blames oil disaster.
And then, some congressional democrat had to further go and screw up Obama’s lack of mention by bringing up a few e-mails to point out that the Fed’s whole response, or lack of response can be blamed in part by, you guessed it, public relations and politics:
A Democratic congressman wrote a scathing letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama accusing the White House of valuing public relations over science when it made public pronouncements about the effects of the BP oil spill and the government’s role in fighting it. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., a liberal conservationist and avowed opponent of expanded offshore drilling, charges that spin control won out over scientific reasoning during discussions late last summer about how much oil remained in the Gulf. The congressman went so far as to liken Obama’s handling of scientific information to that of his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, often accused by Democrats of placing his political agenda ahead of science.
Didn’t he pledge to do precisely the opposite?
Many scientists supported Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 which culminated in the promise to “restore science to its rightful place” in his inaugural address.
Course, then the science got a bit inconvenient to poll numbers, public perception, and the new narrative that all is well in the Gulf…reported on national television by the now resigned, Carol Browner.
In one e-mail cited by Grijalva, a NOAA official complained about getting “strong pushback” from the White House regarding scientists’ plan to announce that the total amount of oil spilled might be higher than the official government-endorsed figure of 4.9 million barrels. The final report stuck with the 4.9 million barrel figure, which was near the high end of the scientists’ estimate of 3 million-5 million barrels spilled.
Another e-mail sent July 31 from Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe warned that it would be a mistake to present the exact percentage of the oil broken down by chemical dispersants, a controversial part of the government’s response, because the numbers were only “rough estimates.” But he was overruled and told the White House wanted a “communication product” that would highlight the success of its spill-fighting efforts.
And just as interesting, turns out one of the “independent” scientists who assisted in the review of the infamous oil budget that stated half the oil was gone, was a British Petroleum official whose name was removed from later drafts and not included in the final version of the report.
To which, Representative Issa expresses the obvious concern:
I am concerned not only about any changes BP may have suggested to the report that were not publicly disclosed, but about how a report of this magnitude can be considered independent when the company under investigation had a staffer review a pre-publication draft.
And this brings us all back to last night’s State of the Union address.
The SOTU highlights an agenda, the presidential agenda and it attempts to set the agenda out there for the American people and the mainstream press to follow, to report on, to discuss. When the science doesn’t support the narrative that the Gulf is okay, when the facts don’t support the idle dream that the people in the Gulf are being taken care of or British Petroleum is owning up to its responsibility, this president who promised to bring science back into the fold and not ignore the Gulf Coast, did what the previous president did, and many of the presidents did before him, he simply left the problem off the agenda, dismissed it from the speech altogether and in doing so sat idly by while the whole issue of the spill, the claims process and coastal restoration is left to drift further from the minds of the average American.
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida had a chance last night to be put back in the spotlight as they rightfully should have been. British Petroleum had the chance to have the scrutiny placed back onto their promise to “make things right.” Ken Feinberg had the chance, two days before his appearance at congress, to be put on notice that the White House wants answers.
But instead, Barack Obama gave nothing, no mention, just like George W Bush before him during Katrina’s aftermath. It took a congressman from Arizona of all places to raise the question of politics in the Gulf Coast response.
And today, the Gulf Coast still waits for Obama’s answer.
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This just in:
The White House did in fact, not, hold any information back from the American public. They vehemently deny the conclusions of the Oil Spill Commission, the same commission they created.
So much for mea culpa’s from the Obama Administration.
So much for regaining lost credibility.
Despite their own commission’s evidence to the contrary, Robert Gibbs, White House Spokesman said the White House gave us “the most accurate and timely information” regarding the flow rate of oil from the busted Macondo Well…as it became available of course.
And how do we know this as the truth?
Because Robert Gibbs said so.
Did I mention I don’t feel any better? Oh wait, yeah I did, I mentioned it yesterday.
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Imagine a country, a place where an oil spill fouled a major body of water off five states. The ensuing damage threw thousands out of work, threatened an entire ecosystem, a culture, killed thousands of birds, fish, sensitive marshlands. The company promised to do everything to make things whole again. The government stepped in and held that company to task while spearheading the greatest mobilization of resources in history, quickly realizing that to not do so, would be to not only give up on five states but in turn, give up on the country as a whole. Every tragedy was mourned. Every success was met with praise and only emboldened further, more focused response. Information was shared openly, honestly because everyone in charge instantly realized the best minds were needed on this and open communication is the best way for those minds to come together, to think outside of the box to fix this thing.
Yeah, too bad we don’t live in such a place…oh, and by the way, did you know the midterm elections were coming up?
University of New Orleans Poli-Scientist Ed Chervenak says, “This has not been probably the best period of time for the Obama Administration. His numbers are down a bit. People haven’t really have a positive perception of his handling on the issue. So his people would just like to put this behind them and focus more on the Mid-term election.”
Yeah, ya think?
Ever since they capped the Macondo well, we’ve been treated to essentially the same story in the mainstream media, especially those media outlets not located in the Gulf Coast…The oil is gone. The dispersants used were no more harmful than dish-soap. We don’t even need skimmers anymore. British Petroleum executives and government officials sing their new tunes while the media marches in, lockstep, arm in arm…everyone grinning like a 70’s era Coca-Cola commercial.
Yeah, this is money, PR and politics.
But to say that provokes a reaction. After all, didn’t we leave the Bush-era behind? For people to maintain any political underpinnings to the response and clean-up, well that just reeks of cynicism, and we traded all that in on hope, so get with the program.
Course, then there’s this: White House sends 2012 rescue team to Florida.
This rosy scenario that’s being pushed on everyone is false. British Petroleum is trying to improve their PR and save itself some money by scaling back clean-up operations, and Obama? He’s got other political fish to fry. The better that any spill affected politician is able to make the situation appear, the more it will help in the midterm elections. Bobby Jindal’s no saint either…the stupidity of his sand berm plan, and the continued helicopter views with the networks along for the ride is just more of that same 2012 presidential…bad science, money and politics.
The story in the Gulf Coast rages on as the reports keep coming in: fish kills, dying marshlands and oil in the passes, reports of oil under the barrier islands’ sand , even interviews of EPA whistle blowers who tell the truth about Corexit and it’s toxicity.
BP, Barack Obama, Bobby Jindal and too many in the mainstream press would love for this all to be over so they can move on, but no matter their political and financial aspirations…it isn’t.
You heard that, right Florida?
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