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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