The politics of disaster

By: Susan Estrich

When BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward went to Capitol Hill this week, he got beat up on by all sides.

When the president declared “war” from the Oval Office in response to the continuing spill, he, too, got beat up on by all sides.

Welcome to the politics of disaster.

What everyone wants, of course, is the one thing neither man can deliver anytime soon: a stop to the spill.

If they could do it, they would. If they could make it happen, they would. But for all the talk of war and funds and escrow, the reality is very simple: The oil is still spilling out, even more (big surprise) than they said before. The damage will be enormous, even with the secretary of the Navy in charge. The losses will be greater than what anyone forecasts, escrow fund or not.

Whatever they’ve done so far has been too little and too late.

The politics of disaster are difficult. That’s why it’s called a disaster. Not a good thing. Not easily addressed.

And yet, politically speaking, some people emerge from disasters looking better than others. George W. Bush came out of 9/11 a stronger and more popular president than he ever was, before or later. Johnson & Johnson came out of its first Tylenol disaster with a better reputation for quality and integrity than it had before someone tampered with its medicine. Public relations types, not to mention lawyers and politicos, get paid millions of dollars to manage disasters. And every once in a while they get it right.

The secret, as in all such things, is easier said than done. Managing disaster is all about taking responsibility and taking charge — sooner not later. It’s about being perceived as facing it, not downplaying it.

In the first days after the spill, BP did not take responsibility. They ran TV ads, which is altogether different. They downplayed the severity of the spill and became instantly unreliable. They sought to protect shareholder profits and were seen as being slow to put money on the table and as nickel and diming people who were suffering. All bad.

Imagine if they had immediately called up Kenneth Feinberg, who has justifiably earned the reputation as disaster’s go-to guy when it comes to fairly arranging compensation. Say they had put $10 billion in escrow and had given him the authority to start, right then, handing it out. It would have seemed like an amazing gesture. They could have said (to calm their screaming lawyers) that they were very hopeful that costs wouldn’t reach nearly that much, but they wanted people to know they were putting their money where their mouths were.

Instead, they’ve now put twice that on the table, and nobody gives them an ounce of credit. As in relationships, timing is everything.

Imagine if the president, in the first days after the spill, had established a command center in the Gulf, complete with Rahm Emanuel in charge. Like him or hate him, if he’s good enough to run the White House, why not put your top guy in charge of your biggest disaster? Pull out all the big shots. Set up the Gulf White House. Daily briefings by Rahm. The president wouldn’t need to talk about “kicking ass” on television if Rahm were doing it every day.

Would the oil have stopped because Rahm told it to? Of course not. But would people feel like the president really did care, like they were the No. 1 priority, like heads would roll? Yes. You wouldn’t need to talk about a war if you were seen putting everything you had into the fight.

No one wants to face disaster. In only that way, 9/11 was, if not easier, clearer. There was no denying what we were up against, no downplaying the tragedy.

The biggest obstacle to handling disasters is the desire of those facing them to believe it won’t be so bad. When — as usually happens — it is even worse, they are blamed for not facing it sooner.

Had the president and BP stepped up and the oil been stopped, they would have been credited for stopping it. And when the disaster turned out to be a disaster (as disasters usually do), they would have been credited for stepping up and facing it, instead of being blamed for things they could never control.

Leaks and lies

By: Oliver North

WASHINGTON — For two months, the Obama administration has been skirting the truth about its inept response to the April 20 BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and the resulting fire and oil spill. The O-Team claims it has been “on top” of this problem since “day one.” Reality shows that both the leaks and the lies continue.

On June 15, President Barack Obama, master and commander of the teleprompter, tried using his first address from the Oval Office to convince the American people that his team was doing all that could be done in handling “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.” It was, even his supporters agree, a failure.

It’s not that the president and his speechwriters didn’t try. He attempted to emote. He tried to express his anger at BP’s “recklessness.” Having previously likened the Gulf catastrophe to the terror attack of 9/11, he referred to “our brave men and women in uniform.” He even described his plan for dealing with millions of gallons of petroleum spewing into the Gulf of Mexico as a “battle we’re waging” and said the oil is “assaulting our shores and our citizens.” He then went on to lay out his “battle plan.”

By the end of Obama’s blessedly brief remarks, it was apparent the only new resources he’s committing to “fight” this “epidemic” — his words, not mine — are lawyers and about 17,000 National Guard members. He went on to “urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.” The contrast between the number of uniformed personnel being sent to the Gulf Coast and the paltry 1,200 dispatched to help protect our southern border from a tidal wave of violence was inescapable.

So, too, is the evidence of political opportunism, egregious error and outright fabrication in what the O-Team claims to have done — and what it plans to do — in responding to the catastrophe. The very fact that Obama devoted nearly a third of his Oval Office remarks to advancing his cap-and-trade energy plan is proof that the administration still lives by chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s maxim: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Though Obama and his spokesmen steadfastly maintain they have been doing “everything possible since day one” to mitigate the consequences of the ongoing spill, it simply is not true. Fox News is not alone in reporting on the administration’s unwillingness to waive provisions of U.S. maritime law known as the Jones Act that bar foreign-flagged ships from transporting cargo or passengers between U.S. ports.

According to O-Team press briefings, Jones Act waivers will be granted when needed. This begs a question: Why isn’t there a veritable fleet of oil-recovery, -skimming and -containment vessels from the Persian Gulf, the Philippines, China and Russia already at work off U.S. shores? And it’s not just the issue of foreign ships; it’s also a matter of American companies’ being rebuffed after offering to help.

According to O-Team press briefings, Jones Act waivers will be granted when needed. This begs a question: Why isn’t there a veritable fleet of oil-recovery, -skimming and -containment vessels from the Persian Gulf, the Philippines, China and Russia already at work off U.S. shores? And it’s not just the issue of foreign ships; it’s also a matter of American companies’ being rebuffed after offering to help.

According to Obama, “mitigating the consequences” of this disaster for the “people of the Gulf” really matters. For decades, we have known that one of the most effective pieces of equipment in reducing shoreline damage from chemical and oil spills is floating containment boom.

On May 21, both of Maine’s U.S. senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident manager and the head of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, alerting them that miles of certified containment boom, manufactured by a company in Maine, was immediately available for overnight shipment to the Gulf Coast. Yet as of this writing, none of this critically needed boom has been shipped.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s June 1 announcement that the Department of Justice will pursue criminal sanctions against BP may sound good to those who want to launch punitive expeditions, but it does nothing to stop oil from gushing from the seabed. And his promise that “every cent of taxpayer money will be repaid” from a $20 billion “escrow account” is completely without foundation because BP could be driven out of business.

Obama also used his Oval Office remarks to announce the appointment of a new head of the Minerals Management Service, the government agency responsible for regulating oil drilling and mining. One might expect the person appointed to this post to be someone possessing at least minimal technical competence. Instead, the president chose a career government attorney — a lawyer who made his “bones” as an assistant special prosecutor in the effort to bring down President Ronald Reagan over the so-called Iran-Contra affair. Obama should be glad there are no special prosecutors looking into his actions in the “Offshore Drilling affair.” Yet.

BREAKING UP WITH BARACK OBAMA/A LETTER FROM MAGGIE

This one needs no introduction …

Dear Prez Obama,

It was really cool to get to vote for u and all, but I really dont think this is gonna work. I dont like politics but I thought u were cool so I went to one of ur rallies on campus and all my friends and I had ur bumper stickers on our notebooks. But Im like really really mad about this oil spill. I mean its like our environment! Ya know? I love to going beach to get tanned and now I wont be able to if there is oil there. OMG. And there are other things like my dad still doesnt have a job. That sucks because my parents stopped sending me money every month, so when my friends wanna go out and drink and whatever, I cant go. Major bummer. Ya know? So I was like really really bummed because whenever I go to the student union, they are always have the TVs on MSNBC and even THEY say they dont like you anymore. And since I dont really like politics, I gotta believe that the TV people are right. So yeah .. I dont know if I am going to vote again. When is the next time you are running for Prez??

Luv Alwayz,

Maggie

BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal’s Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard

59 Days Into Oil Crisis, Gulf Coast Governors Say Feds Are Failing Them

By DAVID MUIR and BRADLEY BLACKBURN

Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.
Louisiana Governor Jindal frustrated over decision-making red tape.

“It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.”

Watch “World News” for David Muir’s report from Louisiana tonight.

Sixteen barges sat stationary today, although they were sucking up thousands of gallons of BP’s oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.

“These barges work. You’ve seen them work. You’ve seen them suck oil out of the water,” said Jindal.

So why stop now?

“The Coast Guard came and shut them down,” Jindal said. “You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, ‘Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'”

A Coast Guard representative told ABC News today that it shares the same goal as the governor.

“We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

Louisiana Governor Couldn’t Overrule Coast Guard

The governor said he didn’t have the authority to overrule the Coast Guard’s decision, though he said he tried to reach the White House to raise his concerns.

“They promised us they were going to get it done as quickly as possible,” he said. But “every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer.”

After Jindal strenuously made his case, the barges finally got the go-ahead today to return to the Gulf and get back to work, after more than 24 hours of sitting idle.

Along Gulf Coast, Governors Ask, ‘Who’s In Charge?’

Fifty-nine days into the crisis, it still can be tough to figure out who is in charge in Louisiana, and the problem appears to be the same in other Gulf Coast states.

In Alabama today, Gov. Bob Riley said that he’s had problems with the Coast Guard, too.

Riley, R-Ala., asked the Coast Guard to find ocean boom tall enough to handle strong waves and protect his shoreline.

Stock Markets and BP

First I want to say I am proud to be part of the U.S.Constitutional Free Press they are doing a great job keeping the American people informed about anything that the are not getting fom other media sources keep up the great work everyone

News Free Press Of Kooskia Idaho Logo 2 June 17,2010 

Hello Everyone,

                               First I want to say I am proud to be part of the The U.S. Constittional Free Press, they are doing a great job. Keeping the American people informed about anything that they are not getting from other media sources. Keep up the great work everyone.

                               Lets start with BP British Petroluim it has come out in the last couple of days, that a new estimated amount of oil being poured into the waters of the Gulf. They are saying 30 to 60 thousand Gallons a day is spilling in the ocean,  which equels making an Exxon Valdes every 5 days. We are now on day 59 of this massive leak of oil,   

                               BP is an 80 Billion dollar company, and this spill could exceed the value of the company. In Europe they are saying that BP could have to file for Bankruptcy before the well is capped.  just this week they are saying that BP could spend 81 Billion dollars to just clean up this oil in the Gulf. Thats not even touching on the amount of money that will make the people of the affected area of the Gulf made whole. The Macondo well is spilling about 2.50 Million Gallons per day into the Gulf.  

                            Today it came out the President of the USA gave Mr George Soro’s own oil company the one he owns 80 percent of in Brazil 2 Million Dollars, Mr Soro’s has 80 Billion dollars in an oil company so whats the 2 Million Dollars for well its for drilling in the Deep waters of of Brazil for oil.   Mr Soro’s has been one of President Obama’s advisors on this oil spill.   

                              This week an new Fund was started for the people affected by the oil spill in the Gulf, and its being headed up by Kenneth Feinberg. Yes the same Gentleman that headed up the 911 fund, money was miss handled Mr Obama chose Mr Feinberg he said for his fine work with 911 fund. more to come about BP .

                               Now onto Information about the stock Market this last 2 weeks. This week California that they have a zero cash flow, just by saying that they are saying they are broke. What will happen next is that we have to bail them out, so here is what I say to CA inadvance  of their request for a loan. Tighten your wallets, pay off your bills, use the tenth Admendment of the state Constitution. Alot of the state spending is their fault, the rest of it is the federal Governments Fault. So CA get some guts to tell the Federal Government to keep their Mandates, next go through all of your monthy bills, pick all the important ones pay for those. And get rid of all of the waste and fruad and abbuse. There are at least 16 other states in the same boat, and that boat is about to sink into an never ending sea of constant. Debt I say that you need a realistic  Budget. There are 22 other states that are in so bad a shape that they will be cutting back on retirement benifits for their state employees, not suprised that Idaho is one of those 22 States in Dire straits.

                           There is someone that could teach you how to stay within your means. I have no debt other then my land, which will be paid of in about the next 1 year and half. My house is not finished, why becuase I have not gotten a loan to pay for the supplies to finish it but it is getting done.

                                        this next couple of weeks I will finaly have a closet, to put clothes in. I have been living out of a suitcase for the 12 years, I have lived here. Now before all of you yell at my husband, for me not having closets. Dave is a hard working man, he does a lot of honey do’s arround here. He tried to get the closets done while I was on my Mothersday vacation. I just got back before they were done lol. Anyways back to what I was saying about being Debt free. We dont spend money we dont have. We save up for everything we want, I am putting a business together piece by piece. I save up for awhile spend some on the things I need for my business, then I save up some more. I am not like the Government can’t borrow money, or print my own money. So I have to live within my means.  I feel its way past the time the  States get there act together.

                               This week Greece has been downgraded to BA1 statice which is junk Bond statice , and next week france will have their rating lowered to AA statice from AAA the rating.  Are done by Moody’s and this week I found out whom owns most of Moody’s.  This week I Found out that Moody’s is owned by Halliburtan and they are owned by Warren Buffett owns stock in both Halliburtan and Moody’s. well I will end this blog for today and will write my next blog on http://NewsFreePress.wordpress.com I should have a blog there in about 24 hours from now have a great day.

                             Tonight I will co host News Free Kooskia Idaho at this link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/News-Free-Kooskia-ID   tonights show airs at 9pm Pacific and 10pm Mountain and 11pm Central and 12am Eastern time zones Tonight is our Thrsday night Ham Radio show with Dave Brainerd wb6dhw

The President’s Oil Reserves Lie

By Chad Stafko

Tuesday night, following a tour of the Gulf Coast area, the President of the United States addressed the nation regarding the state of the BP oil spill. In his speech from the Oval Office, President Obama spoke regarding our nation’s dependence upon oil and how we need to break that dependence.

During his speech, the President made a statement that was blatantly false. The President noted, “We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserve. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean — because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.”

We are not running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water. In fact, it is due to the President’s party of extreme environmentalists that BP had to drill some 40 miles from the coastline in deep waters to extract oil. Imagine if this oil leak had happened in the shallow waters off of the East Coast or even, dare we say it, in the pristine ANWR region. How much easier it would have been to cap the leak and clean up the oil.

Consider our nation’s vast oil reserve resources that are currently unavailable for use due to government ownership of the land or outright bans on drilling in certain areas.

According to a June 2008 article in Kiplinger Magazine, the United States has enough oil reserves to power the nation for upwards of three centuries. That’s three-hundred years, Mr. President. We are not running out of oil reserves, it’s just that those oil reserves have been declared off limits due to decades of environmental lobbying of our politicians, especially those on the Left. This lobbying has driven the likes of BP and others out deep into the Gulf of Mexico to extract the nation’s needed oil.

Note the following statement from the article:

“…untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand-at today’s levels-for auto, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.”

Think about that. The nations that currently hold us hostage by their massive oil production actually have far less reserves than our own nation. Put another way, some of the very nations in which we are dependent upon oil are also the same nations that help to sponsor worldwide terrorism. Were we to extract our own oil, it would make our nation and the world a safer place. But, isn’t a spotted owl more important than the safety of the world?

Among the areas the article mentions are the oil shale located underneath land in Colorado, Wyoming, and in Utah. These lands are federally protected, but they alone could provide about 200 years worth of oil for the nation. Others mentioned include oil reserves located under Montana and some reserves located on protected lands in Texas, California, Utah, and Kentucky.

In fact, our own government has acknowledged the vast oil resources available to us. In an April 2008 study conducted by the United States Geological Survey, the group began its press release with the following, “North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.”

The report acknowledges that the available oil reserves could be much larger, but the 3.0 to 4.3 billion figure represents oil recoverable right now with today’s technology. In fact, there may more than 100 billion barrels eventually recoverable with continued developments in the technology necessary to extract the oil.

Then there is the most famous government-blocked area of oil reserves, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuges (ANWR). With 10 billion barrels available, ANWR is the most accessible of the major untapped oil reserve locations in the United States and claims are that this oil could be extracted in a way that would have minimal negative environmental impact.

Yet, with all of these resources, here we sit, importing oil at a feverish pace and a significant portion of it from our enemies and those who support terrorist organizations around the world. And, here we sit watching oil float towards our shores through unnecessary deep-water drilling when we could be drilling on dry land.

Yes, the President is correct when he calls for the need to use more alternative energy sources. Some of these may, in the long-term, actually be more efficient than the use of oil and be more readily accessible. However, until then we would be wise to tap our God-given resources in the safest of areas first before we go drilling more than a mile beneath the ocean for the same fuel that is available on dry land.

Therefore, if we’re tossing all the blame towards BP for this catastrophic oil spill then we’re ignoring other perpetrators. The reason BP and other oil companies are drilling 40+ miles off the shoreline and more than a mile deep is because of the stranglehold that environmentalists have held on politicians and their resulting energy policies for decades.

Let’s use some common sense. Drill first on land, then in water. It’s really not that difficult.

Obama’s Oil Spill Speech Turns to Energy Policy, Fueling Capitol Crossfire

June 15, 2010: President Obama speaks from the Oval Office on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

FOX NEWS

President Obama tried Tuesday night in his Oval Office speech to rally the nation behind his efforts to tackle the Gulf oil spill, but by also highlighting his energy agenda, he set off reaction on Capitol Hill that could risk turning the disaster into a political football.

Obama, trying to take control of a crisis that has slowly eroded support for his administration, pointed to the relief efforts already under way and said the government would hold BP responsible. But later in his 18-minute speech, he turned his focus to the need to “seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels.”

“We can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy, because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater,” Obama said in the first Oval Office address of his presidency.

The speech came 57 days after the April 20 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and sparked the crisis, in which millions of gallons of oil already have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The speech also served as a prelude to Obama’s meeting Wednesday with BP executives at the White House.

Republicans accused the president for using the oil spill to push his legislative agenda.

Related Links
Obama: ‘We Will Make BP Pay for Its Recklessness’
Transcript of Obama’s First Oval Office Speech
FACT CHECK: Obama Inflates Hopes in Spill Recovery

“Instead of leveraging this crisis to manufacture knee-jerk political support for cap-and-trade energy taxes, President Obama should focus on providing the people of the Gulf with real and honest solutions to this horrible environmental disaster that this administration has been slow in waking up to,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said in a written statement.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., said Obama “is trying to exploit this disaster to pass his national energy tax.”

“Stop exploiting this disaster to pass this cap-and-trade tax,” he said.

The congressman was referring to the “cap-and-trade” legislation that Democrats have been trying to push through Congress since last year. After the House approved a version of the bill last June, the Senate has been sitting on the proposal while other issues like health care and financial regulation moved to the front of the legislative line.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., praised Obama’s comments on his energy agenda.

“I firmly believe that a diverse energy strategy will help our nation reduce pollution, create millions of clean energy jobs that can never be out-sourced and lower our dependence on oil,” Reid said in a written statement. President Obama presented a path to energy independence in his speech tonight that strengthens our economy and protects our environment.”

In his speech, Obama called on all Americans to contribute to “a new future that will benefit all of us.”

“As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of good, middle-class jobs, but only if we accelerate that transition,” Obama said. “Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation — workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.”

Reid said he looks forward to passing a bipartisan energy bill this year.

“This legislation can only be passed if Republicans decide to work with us and demonstrate that they share our serious commitment to building a 21st century energy strategy for America,” he said.

But Republicans were outraged that climate change legislation would be discussed in the same breath as the Gulf oil crisis.

“Never has a mission statement fit an administration as perfectly as Rahm Emanuel’s ‘never allow a crisis to go to waste.’ Climate change policy is important, but first things first,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, describing the energy bill as a tax on everyone that would “do nothing” to stop the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Somehow he thinks he can use the tragedy in the Gulf as a reason to pass cap-and-trade,” said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. “There is no relationship between the oil spill and cap-and-trade.”

The climate bill most likely to pass the Senate is one sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Kerry, D-Mass. They said on Tuesday that their bill will save energy and create jobs.

“It will create 440,000 additional jobs annually through 2020 and 540,000 additional jobs through 2030,” Kerry said.

Lieberman said one analysis shows the plan would save 2 million barrels of oil a day by 2030 — in part by getting heavy trucks to run on natural gas. He said that inaction at this point would lead to sustained dependence on oil and “risk repetition of what’s happening in the Gulf today.”

But critics are extremely skeptical about both claims. Previous assessments of cap-and-trade bills warned of job losses, and analysts say savings in oil are hard to come by:

“In automobiles, at least in the short run, next 10 years or so, it’s very difficult to switch from one energy source to another,” said David Kreutzer, research fellow for energy economics and climate change with the Heritage Foundation. He said the climate legislation and its mandate to cut emissions would end up hurting the country’s coal industry “dramatically.”