Category Archives: Democratic Party

BP Oil Spill – How Reagan Created MMS to Fail the U.S.

You’ve been hearing about the Minerals Management Service (MMS) lately and their friendly relationship to the oil industry. Their mission is to “manage the mineral resources of the Outer Continental Shelf in an environmentally sound and safe manner.”

That seems a bit optimistic nowadays doesn’t it? 

From the start, when it was created as little more than a lobbying office located right in the Department of the Interior, courtesy of Ronald Reagan and James Watts in the 1980’s and after eight years of Bush-Cheney, MMS has been busy cuddling up to big oil. This was pushed to a logical and absurd conclusion when the Bush administration signed off on big oil’s desire for voluntary, “trust me,” self-regulation — and caved in to industry demands not to mandate the backup shut off switch for offshore rigs that Brazil and Norway require. In fact, this dangerous relationship was taken to the extreme and manifested in the  Sex-for-Oil scandal two years ago. 

Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties engaged in illicit sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them, federal investigators said Wednesday.

Between 2002 and 2006, nearly one-third of the staff in the Denver MMS office received gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies, the investigators found. There was also sex, allegations of drug use and the other usual ‘government workers behaving badly’ sorts of thing going on.

So now what are wer left with?

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Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Energy, Environmental Policy, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party

Obama May be the ‘Black’ John F. Kennedy

jfkobama-photo1

I was speaking with a colleague recently and asked him about the parallels between Obama and Kennedy.

The similarities are startling.

In 1960 Kennedy’s campaign staff knew that John F. Kennedy would defeat Richard Nixon, and it was confirmed just before their first televised debate – a debate where Nixon looked old and tired, offering the same tired solutions. Sound familiar?

The then Senator Kennedy, a Democrat, was a fresh face from Massachusetts, much like Obama from Illinois. Eventually, Kennedy’s solid performance in the debate boosted his standing in the polls. Moreover, the image of Kennedy we see is considered to be one of the most dynamic images in U.S. presidential history. Nixon, conversely, looked terrible during the debate. Nixon’s appearance cost him votes that night, despite a solid intellectual performance. Separate surveys later demonstrated this. Among those voters polled who watched the debate on television, a majority thought Kennedy won the debate. However, among those voters polled who listened to the debate on radio, a majority thought Nixon won the debate. The key here, as was the case with Obama and McCain, was that separation was achieved in the minds of the American people in favor of the younger, fresher, more appealing Democrat.

The question to ask now is whether or not President-elect Barack Obama is on the same political road as Kennedy. It may be too soon to tell, but the beginnings of a big change in American politics, and in public policy, seems afoot.

Obama attracted new voters in large numbers, primarily African-Americans and young voters ages 18-21. He also attracted young couples and young, urban professionals that became a twenty year base for the Democratic party.

Some elements of the answer are even more apparent: his high-toned oratory, his promises of reconciliation in a divisive time, a background in community organizing that suggests both idealism and a talent for problem-solving. When answering the charge that the Illinois senator lacks the record of achievement befitting a White House aspirant, Obama’s backers often stack him next to JFK. Obama is 44, they note, older than JFK was when he ran. Skeptics derided JFK, as they now do Obama, as callow and ill-versed in substantive issues. And yet Obama, similar to JFK, manages to inspire people with sex appeal, cerebral cool headedness, and a message of generational change. Maybe the most important aspect of Kennedy mirrored in Obama may be the way that JFK handled his Catholicism. In the 1960 campaign, Kennedy turned his religion from a liability into an asset. Obama did the same thing with his race.

We can only hope their presidencies don’t end the same way.

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Filed under Democratic Party, Election 2008, Politics

The “Gang of Ten” Offers Comprehensive Framework for Common Sense Energy Package

Ten members of the Senate, known as the “Gang of 10,” has proffered the framework, for consideration, of a comprehensive energy plan for America. The ten members of the bi-partisan group, five Democrats and five Republicans, have been working together for weeks to draft the plan – and it’s a good one.

First, the plan examines alternative energy as well as off shore drilling in the gulf region. Energy sources such as biofuels and nuclear energy, would combine with shorter term fixes such as drilling for oil and natural gas are part of a comprehensive approach. 

More importantly, the “Gang of Ten” is now hoping for a broad spectrum of support from entrenched Democrats and Republicans, who are juxopposed on this critical issue. To this end, letters of appeal have been sent to both the Senate majority and minority leader, with an eye on moving this bill forward before the end of the year.

The ‘gang’ claims the upcoming 2008 election did not factor in to this project – and I believe them.

In a press conference, they asked for Americans to register their collective support for the plan with their Senators.

The plan also calls for 85% of all major transportation be moved to alternative energy in the nest 20 years, at a cost of 84 billion dollars (less than one year’s spending on the Iraq War). Some of the money would come from a repeal of tax incentives that big oil companies now have, some from drilling rebates, and yet more from savings on purchased imported oil.

As for off shore drilling – the ‘gang’ believes that the gulf region would not take as long to produce crude oil as some expect.

Overall, these guys are making sense and cooperating, in a time when Obama is calling McCain “child-like,” and McCain is mocking Obama about ‘tire pressure.’

Less talk and more action is always a winner I say. If Congress and the American people had any brains at all, they would support this effort 100%. 

The “Gang of Ten”

Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)

John Thune (R-S.D.)

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)

Mary Landrieu (D-La.)

Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)

Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)

Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)

Democrats and Republicans working together of meaningful energy legislation? The end must surely be near. Seriuosly, these folks deserve a lot of credit.

Read related articles on Associated Content, The Swamp, Environmental News Network

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Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Economy, Election 2008, Energy, Politics, Republican Party, Technology, War in Iraq

Iran Escalates ‘War-Like’ Rhetoric Over Strait of Hormuz

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohammad Ali Jafari, has issued a warning that Iran could easily cut off a key Persian Gulf shipping route.

Iran’s unofficial state media claims Iran has tested a naval missile capable of destroying any ship within 190 miles.

“The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has recently tested a naval weapon with a 300 km range in which no vessel would be safe and would be sent to the depths…”

Iran is also reporting recent showdowns between US and Iranian ships.

“Enemies know that we are easily able to block the Strait of Hormuz for unlimited period”, Jafari said. “The strait and vessels are in range of our various weapons.”

“In view of the proximity of the Strait of Hormuz … to our shores, this distance is within the range of an assortment of weapons and its closure for us is very feasible and we face no limitations from the point of view of time,” he said.

Foreign policy analysts say such sabre rattling may be overstated given the Iranian claims surrounding a recent missile test were later revealed to be overstated.

Read the full article at RawStory

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Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Economy, Energy, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party, War in Iraq

Is the McCain Campaign Just Plain Snakebit?

The McCain campaign can’t seem to do anything right.

Whether it’s microphones not working at a recent town hall meeting, to a reported flat tire on his campaign bus, “The Straight Talk Express,’ to money troubles, to needling Barack Obama to visit Iraq, then whining about the subsequent lack of media attention as a result of the trip, John McCain can’t seem to do anything right. And the conseqeunces are beginning to take their toll.

John McCain’s negative attacks on Barack Obama haven’t resulted in any traction whatsoever, so now his campaign has resorted to just making things up.

McCain’s latest charge is that that Obama is responsible for high fuel prices at the pump. Yet that snake venom is evident once again, as prices started dropping almost the day McCain made the remarks.

Maybe the McCain campaign is running out of gas.

All of this has resulted in a lack of media coverage for John McCain. In fact, major news stories about Obama outpace McCain by a margin of 4 to 1!  At least McCain is complaining for a good reason.

This was bolstered by Obama’s favorable media coverage of his trip to Europe and the Middle East, where he looked presidential as he rubbed elbows with world leaders and dignitaries, as if he had already won the presidency.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, McCain landed in New Hampshire and was met at the airport by a lone reporter.

That qualifies as a bad sign, I think.

McCain is whining that the media is ignoring him, but the fact of the matter is that his talking points are flawed and somewhat flat. Why would anybody want to pay attention? Maybe the media, and in fact the country, is finally realizing that that McCain and the Republican Party, have nothing new to offer, except more of the same.

Bad luck and blunders have a way of draining the life out of any campaign. McCain should thank his lucky stars that the media is still covering him at all! Even McCain’s major gaffes are ignored at this point. For example, the media has not called McCain out on his major foreign policy errors, including his belief that there is an Iraq-Pakistan border? CBS News edited out part of his interview with Katie Couric when McCain bungled the Anbar timeline. He also thinks Czechoslovakia still exists. Then there was the McCain’s trip abroad, when he didn’t know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite.

Whew.

A piece of advice for the McCain campaign: Sometimes you need to change what you are doing in order to manufacture some of your own good luck, and the media will follow. Stop trying to pick a philosophical fight about who has the most experience. McCain may be older and wiser, but Obama is winning the battle on who has better judgment. 

At this point, the only person the media likes less than McCain is Bush, and that’s not saying much. 

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Filed under Democratic Party, Election 2008, Foreign Policy, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party

U.S. Army Threatens Kids with ‘Jail’ for not Enlisting

Army recruiter Sgt. Glenn Marquette, has been lying to high school students about their obligations under a non-binding military “delayed entry program.” Worse yet, he has been threatening them with jail if they don’t follow through and enlist when the students are under no obligation to do so.

Eighteen year old high school senior Irving Gonzales told KHOU 11 News in Houston that he thought about enlisting in the Army as a way of helping out his family financially, so he signed up for the “delayed entry program.” The rules of the program are specific. Anyone who signs up for the program is in no way obligated to follow through and enlist. It’s like pre-season football sort of.

But when Gonzales told U.S. Army recruiter, Glenn Marquette, that he’d changed his mind and would, “…just stay here, go to college,” Marquette informed him he couldn’t get out because “you signed a binding contract.”

U.S. Army recruiting regulations state that “delayed entry members can leave any time” and “under no circumstances can a recruiter threaten or intimidate future soldiers,” much like Marquette did.

In an audio recording played by KHOU News in Houston, Gonzales asked, “What if I just don’t show up?”

Marquette replied flatly, “Then guess what? You’re AWOL. … You want to go to school? You will not get no loans (nice grammar)… As soon as you get pulled over for a speeding ticket … they’re going to see that you’re a deserter. Then they’re going to apprehend you, take you to jail.”

Marquette added, “All that lovey dovey I want to go to college and all that? Guess what? You just threw it out the window.”

Nice.

Marquette refused to be interviewed and has not responded to Capitol Street’s request for comment via e-mail. 

The Army says that making threats as Marquette did, is a violation of recruting regulations and that he has been removed from his duties. 

This is the second time in the past year that KHOU News  has uncovered such behavior by U.S. Army recruiters. The last officer involved in that earlier incident was even promoted to station commander, responsible for training and supervising other recruiters.

And so it goes.

Remember kiddies, there are a few simple rules in life. One is, the house always wins. The other , is that recruiters always lie…always. Besides, you don’t have to enlist to lose your retirement and get screwed out of your benefits, just go to work for any American company and wait a while. At least you won’t be getting shot at in Iraq.

End of the lesson.

Link to KHOU story here

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Filed under Crime, Democratic Party, Law, Politics, Scandals, War in Iraq

Saturday Morning Cartoons – A New ‘Jib-Jab’ Video for the 2008 Election

Here’s another jem from the folks at ‘Jib-Jab’…Time for some campaign’in! 

www.jibjab.com

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Filed under Democratic Party, Election 2008, Politics, Republican Party, Saturday Morning Cartoons