Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thuggery and Misdemeanors in High Office

Since Obama became president I have been amused by articles calling for his impeachment. I am no longer amused.
Here are two articles that every American concerned about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and about the general deterioration of America’s situation at home and abroad since Obama took office should read. In my opinion, if Obama will not resign, we need to elect enough Republicans to impeach him for multiple misdemeanors, as described in these articles and as specified in the US Constitution.

And General McChrystal, get out before this gang makes you the fall guy for their mishandling of Afghanistan – and for the subsequent collapse in Iraq after Afghanistan falls.

Resign... or Change, Mr. President

Kevin McCullough June 21, 2010

It now appears that the White House knew about problems in the Gulf two months before the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20. What did the administration know? Why didn't they shut down the well?

While defending his own policies President Obama has routinely been rude and sarcastic to his predecessor, George W. Bush. Yet Obama appears to be making the resident of the previous White House look like a genius compared to his own serious missteps in office.

Case in point – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's performance and the communication of priorities on the issue of oil rig safety in the Gulf of Mexico.

It seems incomprehensible that the president and other members of the administration still have jobs when it is now being reported that the federal government was apprised by BP on February 13 that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was leaking oil and natural gas into the ocean floor.

In fact, according to documents in the administration's possession, BP was fighting large cracks at the base of the well for roughly ten days in early February.

Further it seems the administration was also informed about this development, six weeks before to the rig's fatal explosion when an engineer from the University of California, Berkeley, announced to the world a near miss of an explosion on the rig by stating, "They damn near blew up the rig."

It's also now being reported that BP was asking for the administration's help on this matter long before the deadly accident and the now gushing well of tar

Which leads me to some questions for the president. If I were in front row of reporters in the White House briefing room, here’s what I’d like to know:

1. It appears, Mr. President, that you were informed by BP about problems on Deepwater Horizon on February 13 and the company wanted your help. What did you say?

2. Given this new revelation, Mr. President, how can you can sleep at night knowing that your inaction cost the lives of eleven men in Louisiana?

3. Did you inform the victims' families about these facts when you invited them to the White House for last month's photo op?

4. You've said, Mr. President, time and again, that the buck stops with you. Doesn’t that statement seem like something bordering on propaganda when you follow it up with what appears to be a false sense of outrage by telling Matt Lauer that you're looking for rear ends to kick?

5. Does the buck stop with you… or not?

6. Are you going to insist that Mr. Salazar step down from his post in disgrace and shame?

7. Will you hold another prime time television press conference and tell the entire truth to the American people? -- These would be the actions of a man who says that the buck "stops" with him.

8. I know when this news was breaking midday on Saturday about the latest BP developments that you and the Vice President were out on the golf course. Was it 39th or 40th time you've played a round in 18 months? (Just for a point of reference President Bush played golf 24 times in eight years.) Never mind, your priorities are for you to decide. At least until election night...

And now here's where I would not be able to stop myself from saying more...
It is one thing, Mr. President, to be forced to deal with unexpected circumstances and to have to deal with genuinely new problems. President Bush sure had to. He had to respond to an attack on our homeland that took the lives of 3,000 of our fellow citizens. But on his watch no other terrorist actions took lives of Americans on our soil, largely due to his steadfast leadership and willingness to accept no excuses on the matter.

But Mr. President, you seem to have very little leadership experience and it appears you have even less skill. Being a good dad and nice guy who sees the world as he wishes it to be is not exactly a resume of exacting leadership.
Your advisers have failed you and you have failed the American people on nearly everything we've asked of you.

Where you go from here is really your call, but you should consider two options if you genuinely love the country you work for and those of us you report to.
First, change your tactics. Second, appear to care. Attempt to engage and empower Americans who can and will go solve this mess.

Otherwise resign.

For the good of the nation, for your own children's future, change your patterns or change your path... but change!

You do remember that word don't you, Mr. President?

Obama's Thuggery Is Useless in Fighting Spill

Michael Barone Monday, June 21, 2010 Townhall

Thuggery is unattractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Barack Obama and his administration to BP's gulf oil spill.

Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's remark that he would keep his "boot on the neck" of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell's definition of totalitarianism as "a boot stamping on a human face -- forever." Except that Salazar's boot hasn't gotten much in the way of results yet.

Or consider Obama's undoubtedly carefully considered statement to Matt Lauer that he was consulting with experts "so I know whose ass to kick." Attacking others is a standard campaign tactic when you're in political trouble, and certainly BP, which appears to have taken unwise shortcuts in the gulf, is an attractive target.

But you don't always win arguments that way. The Obama White House gleefully took on Dick Cheney on the issue of terrorist interrogations. It turned out that more Americans agreed with Cheney's stand, despite his low poll numbers, than Obama's.

Then there is Obama's decision to impose a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the gulf. This penalizes companies with better safety records than BP's and will result in many advanced drilling rigs being sent to offshore oil fields abroad.

The justification offered was an Interior Department report supposedly "peer reviewed" by "experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering." But it turned out the drafts the experts saw didn't include any recommendation for a moratorium. Eight of the cited experts have said they oppose the moratorium as more economically devastating than the oil spill and "counterproductive" to safety.

This was blatant dishonesty by the administration, on an Orwellian scale. In defense of a policy that has all the earmarks of mindless panic, that penalizes firms and individuals guilty of no wrongdoing and that will worsen rather than improve our energy situation. Ineffective thuggery.

And what about the decision not to waive the Jones Act, which bars foreign-flag vessels from coming to the aid of the gulf cleanup? The Bush administration promptly waived it after Katrina in 2005. The Obama administration hasn't and claims unconvincingly that, gee, there aren't really any foreign vessels that could help.
The more plausible explanation is that this is a sop to the maritime unions, part of the union movement that gave Obama and other Democrats $400 million in the 2008 campaign cycle. It's the Chicago way: dance with the girl that brung ya.

Or the decision to deny Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposal to deploy barges to skim oil from the gulf's surface. Can't do that until we see if they've got enough life preservers and fire equipment. That inspired blogger Rand Simberg to write a post he dated June 1, 1940: "The evacuation of British and French troops from the besieged French city of Dunkirk was halted today, over concerns that many of the private vessels that had been deployed for the task were unsafe for troop transport."

Finally, there's the $20 billion escrow fund that Obama pried out of the BP treasury at the White House when he talked for the first time, 57 days after the rig exploded, with BP Chairman Tony Hayward. It's pleasing to think that those injured by BP will be paid off speedily, but House Republican Joe Barton had a point, though an impolitic one, when he called this a "shakedown."

For there already are laws in place that ensure that BP will be held responsible for damages, and the company has said it will comply. So what we have is government transferring property from one party, an admittedly unattractive one, to others, not based on pre-existing laws but on decisions by one man, pay czar Kenneth Feinberg.

Feinberg gets good reviews from everyone. But the Constitution does not command "no person ... shall ... be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law except by the decision of a person as wise and capable as Kenneth Feinberg." The Framers stopped at "due process of law."

Obama doesn't. "If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so," write the editors of The Economist, who then suggest that markets see Obama as "an American version of Vladimir Putin." Except that Putin is an effective thug.


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