Disenfranchised Citizen

Chicago, New Orleans and living a beautiful, angry life between the two…

Posts Tagged ‘White House

History’s telling me to not get excited about passage of the oil spill fine amendment…

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Very excited about not only the amendment, but Congress too...

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…

blah…blah…blah…

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?

Since when?

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?

Restore ecosystems…right.

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.

Read the articles:

Oil spill fine amendment through House but much work remains

Congress takes a step forward on BP fines: An editorial

Have a nice day.

More lies, more dead dolphins…

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So then it's agreed? The dolphins are all committing suicide in protest of fewer deep sea oil platforms to swim around. Wonderful...Bob, you good with that? Great. Okay, bring the Coast Guard in here...

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…

However:

“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.

Ridiculous, indeed…

Read the article:

More dead dolphins wash up on Southeast Louisiana coast

Have a nice day.

A lesson in spin…oil spills and states of unions

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Liars telling lies to people who want to be lied to - both parties, every last one of them...well, God bless America

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?

Read the articles:

Misunderestimating the BP Oil Spill

Obama officials pushed to underestimate Gulf oil spill

Have a nice day.

Senator John Cornyn, still an asshole…

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"...so I said, In Texas, we got an understanding: BP is a job creator and federal fines are just another way of saying taxes, so why encourage the job creators to not create jobs by paying fines. Hell, I'll only vote for this bill if the Democrats come up with $20 billion dollars in spending cuts to offset this shakedown..."

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?

Simple.

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.

Read the article:

Gulf of Mexico oil spill fine allocation gets bipartisan support in U.S. Senate committee

Have a nice day.

I figured out Obama’s re-election strategy, finally…

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The walk of lame...

And it’s genius.

He did so well the first time running against G.W. Bush and his harsh, conservative record, he has decided to do it again, by simply running against his own first term.

This will of course only require he maintain his current course, because it would appear being “the only adult in the room” is akin to simply caving in and making decisions like, oh…I don’t know, like Obama withdraws smog regulation, overruling EPA, “I want to be clear,” Obama said in a statement sent by the White House, “My commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment (and the social safety net, labor, the middle class, Reagan’s legacy) is unwavering. I will continue to stand with the hardworking men and women at the EPA as they strive every day to hold polluters accountable and protect our families from harmful pollution.”

And man, how GW Bush is that quote?

Holding polluters accountable, and protecting families by withdrawing regulations on smog?

Orwellian genius, I say…genius.

You see, his campaign strategy only requires he continue his move even further to the right of GW Bush, then he will have only to run a campaign of reason against his own lack of for the past four years (a guaranteed victory), and with the political memories in this country he can get away with it too. It shouldn’t be too hard for collective amnesia to buy into statements such as:

“My fellow Americans…Hope! We need change! Our country just cannot afford four more years of the current administration. It would simply be too disastrous to human rights, the environment, labor unions, privacy, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We need a leader, one who will not cave in at every opportunity to the Republican party, but one who will define, and stand up for a core set of Democratic values, no matter the fight. We need a leader who will stand up for those not represented in Washington today, and not speak of conciliatory gestures and doing the right thing the next time around. We need leadership for the present moment, the today, the right now, and that’s why I know you’ll vote for me, Barack Obama, because we simply cannot afford another four more years of that other guy’s Republican rule.”

And on a side note:

Quick story: I remember talking to a supervisor when I worked at a homeless shelter in San Francisco, and we were talking about the differences between the people of San Francisco and the people of Chicago. We both came to the conclusion that Chicago people were preferable because if they didn’t like you, your beliefs, or had a problem with something you’d done, they’d tell you, to your face, whereas the people in San Francisco would generally speak out both sides of their mouth and you’d have to guess who was being genuine and who had it in for you.

Point being, I know that Obama has a house in Chicago and all…but seriously, he really is not from Chicago.

I think I’d put him right where he is currently residing, DC, cause Jesus is he one duplicitous, conniving fraud, no better than a Cantor, a Boehner or any of the other parasites looting what remains of this country for personal connection, wealth or some bullshit legacy nobody cares about but their own shriveled, limp ego.

Have a nice day.

Written by Drake Toulouse

September 3, 2011 at 7:43 AM

And Obama wants a thank you?

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No Barack, the proper response would have been a left jab, not a handshake...

When you are the kind of person who believes the rich really don’t need any more of our money, that tax cuts to wealth don’t really create jobs, at least not the kind of jobs where you don’t need two or three of them to survive, and when you also believe that in the tightened economy, its important to help the growing number of people who are unemployed with assistance for housing and health care. Oh, and this environmental problem we got going on? We need to really take care of that too…

The top 1%, Large businesses?

They’re fine…General Electric pays no taxes on thirteen billion in profits and still tries to squeeze out health care and wage concessions from their employees…that’s greed my friend, not being competitive, so they can tighten their belts too, the way we’ve all been expected to cinch things up.

Anyways, when you believe everything previously mentioned, and you know that Republicans will try to continue this robber-baron thieving mentality, one might be inclined to look for the Democrats and the Democratic President to use common sense, to hold the line and protect the people of this country…

And you’d be wrong to think that way.

Instead, we get:

Newly Released Spending Deal Targets Health, Environment, Energy

In the White House and Congress we got only the spineless, courting election contributions at the expense of the country’s general welfare, and we’re expected to say thanks, you know, because the Republicans really wanted so much more…

No thanks here, sorry…but at the risk of sounding crude, I do have a brand new, nice middle finger for the lot of you…

Have a nice day.

So Much for Apologies…

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Because I am the law, and you don't want to fuck around no more

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.

Read the article:

White House says it didn’t withhold oil spill info

Have a nice day.

Of Course It’s Political…

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This isn't about me America, and it's certainly not about money, this is about the audacity of...oh, what was, hope, yeah...the audacity of hope.

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 passesreports 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?

Read the article:

Political concerns regarding the oil spill cleanup

Have a nice day.

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