Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Before You Make Any Long-Term Plans…You Better Read This….


Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana, in this handout photograph taken on April 21, 2010 and obtained on April 22, 2010.

(This article was re-printed from PetroleumWorld.com.) 

By Christian A. DeHaemer

The Dwarves dug too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame.

 — Saruman, The Lord of the Rings

There is something primordial about BP’s quest for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an Icarus-like story of super-ambition; of reaching too far, delving too deep. I don’t know if you’ve stopped to contemplate what BP was trying to do…The well itself started 5,000 feet below the surface. That’s the depth of the Grand Canyon from the rim. And then the company attempted to drill more than 30,000 feet below that — Mt. Everest would give 972 feet to spare. Furthermore, the company sought oil in a dangerous area of the seabed. It was unstable and many think BP sought it out because seismic data showed huge pools of methane gas — the very gas that blew the top off Deepwater Horizon and killed 11 people. More than a year ago, geologists criticized Transocean for putting their exploratory rig directly over a massive underground reservoir of methane. According to the New York Times , BP’s internal “documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of ‘well control.’ And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.” The problem is that this methane, located deep in the bowels of the earth, is under tremendous pressure… Some speculate as much as 100,000 psi — far too much for current technology to contain. The shutoff vales and safety measures were built for only 1,000 psi. It was an accident waiting to happen… And there are many that say it could get worse — much worse. Geologists are pointing to other fissures and cracks that are appearing on the ocean floor around the damaged wellhead. Continue reading

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Filed under Crime, Energy, Environmental Policy, Global Warming, Health and Wellness, International, Law, Politics, Scandals

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

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

Vanity Fair Parodies the Obamas New Yorker Cover

The controversial New Yorker cover of the Obamas has created heated debate on this blog in two different posts (Obama is ‘All Class’ in Response to New Yorker Cover and Tom Toles on Obama New Yorker Cover)
by Matthew. I have already commented in the first post while not outraged per say it was in incredibly poor taste to portray our future President as a Muslim terrorist even in if it was a satirical statement about the conservative media. The New Yorker should have not used it as a cover (inserted inside) and/or had a article to go along with the image. As it stands, the cover only helped reinforce stereotypes about Obama among the uninformed who casually scan the magazine rack.

It was only a matter of time before we had parodies done about the now (in)famous cover. Vanity Fair has poked fun at The New Yorker with a parody of the cover featuring the McCains

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John McCain’s New York Times Op-Ed That Never Was

Conservatives are up in arms over the New York Times’ decision to pull an op-ed piece that John McCain wrote in response to Barack Obama’s op-ed regarding, Iraq.

Here is the text:

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80 percent to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City — actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military’s readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war — only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

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Filed under Democratic Party, Election 2008, Foreign Policy, International, Media, Politics, Republican Party

Tom Toles on Obama New Yorker Cover

As usual, Tom Toles nails it.

🙂

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Filed under Election 2008, Humor, Media, Politics