I'd like to be able to work up some enthusiasm for President Obama, I really would, but every time I turn around he seems to be supporting yet another bad Bush policy, often - as in this case - in direct opposition to his own statements. Even recent statements. And the statements of Admin officials. Remember this from just a couple of weeks ago after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded?
Barack Obama...vow[ed] that his administration would launch a "relentless response effort" to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf.
Just yesterday Interior sec Ken Salazar announced that he "was temporarily halting offshore drilling" on Obama's orders.
Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.
The exemptions, known as "categorical exclusions," were granted by the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) and included waiving detailed environmental studies for a BP exploration plan to be conducted at a depth of more than 4,000 feet and an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. exploration plan at more 9,000 feet.
"Is there a moratorium on off shore drilling or not?" asked Peter Galvin, conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity, the environmental group that discovered the administration's continued approval of the exemptions. "Possibly the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history has occurred and nothing appears to have changed."
When it comes to corporations and banks, that certainly seems to be true. A little meaningless tinkering around the edges and a lot of aggressive rhetoric in public but at the end of the day it's all copacetic for the rich and the powerful. What? You thought just because a magnificently-timed if horrendous accident was playing out right under their noses, Obama and the GOP-friendly BD's were going to suddenly become environmentalists and tell the oil companies they had to stop destroying the ocean because it was, you know, dangerous?
You might not be wrong. Lindsey Graham is certainly sweating. He's so afraid that the disaster will lead to some sort of regulation of the oil companies, possibly even a moratorium on offshore drilling, that he wants to table the whole climate change thing until everybody calms down.
Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the chief sponsors of a nascent plan to address energy and climate change in the Senate, said Friday that the proposal had no chance of passage in the near term and called for a "pause" in consideration of the issue.
Graham has been pushing much lighter restrictions on energy companies than the country is willing to accept in the wake of an explosion that BP told its critics could "never happen". Loose rules aren't going to go over so well at this point, so...let's all just get real quiet, shall we?
But it seems obvious that he's over-reacting to the threat. Obama clearly has no intention of ending offshore drilling, and the 27 exemptions since the explosion less than a month ago (that's 9 exemptions per week) pretty much prove that.
The Good News is that we have yet another indication - granted, it's in a different area - that members of the real Democratic party have about had it with this Blue Dog leadership shit. They're getting to their feet and pressuring Obama to support one of the many treaties Bush pulled out of and that Obama has been refusing to honor: the land mine treaty.
The Obama administration, under intense political pressure from Capitol Hill and elsewhere, is engaged in a vigorous debate over whether to reverse course and join an international treaty banning land mines, administration officials said this week.
In re-examining the issue, the administration is stepping back into the glare of a perennial cause that has captured the attention of world leaders, royalty and celebrities. It is also inviting another internal debate that pits the Pentagon against other parts of the administration.
The policy review, which officials expect to be completed this summer, could result in the United States pledging to abide by the treaty's provisions even if it does not join it. That would be a striking disavowal of its announcement last fall that it would stick to the Bush administration's refusal to join the agreement, known as the Ottawa Treaty.
It would also mollify critics, chiefly Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who called the earlier decision a "default of U.S. leadership and a detour from the clear path of history." Mr. Leahy, who expressed his dismay to President Obama, said on Friday that he was glad the issue was getting "the kind of attention it should have been getting then."
Yeah, well. At least if you yell 'til you're blue in the mouth Obama will pretend to listen. It looks like that's really the best we can expect from this president.
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