Monday, June 21, 2010

Madam President

Last Tuesday, June 15th to be exact, President Obama delivered his first speech from The Oval Office, and spoke of the BP Gulf Oil Crisis, the Administration's response, relief for those who have lost their livlihoods, and a little about how he envisions the nation's departure from fossil based fuels toward a more "Green Economy." It wasn't a bad speech, but certainly not one of his best, and the President had his fair share of criticism after he gave it, some calling it bland, stating that he might as well have been giving a lecture of the founding of the National Monument movement.
Quite often I've noticed that once in office elected officials tend to parse their words, which again - makes for bland speeches. For a Democratic President at this particular time in our nation's history, with the rise of the Tea Baggers, and ultra right wingers attempt to take over the Republican Party, the President is going to be excoriated by these loonies no matter what he says.
But one still yearns for an honest, bold appraisal of the situation, with bold remedies. The type of speech that will guarantee the speaker will never be elected to any office. And last Wednesday, the 16th to be exact, one of my heros of the elite liberal media, Dr. Rachel Maddow offered one, speaking from the fake Oval Office, as fake President Obama, this is what she said:

"You know how sometimes after you get into an argument or a confrontation with somebody, you can‘t help afterwards thinking of all the things you wish you‘d said. You run it over and over in your mind, imaging the perfect comeback or the perfect way to have made your point.
Well, last night after the president‘s big Oval Office speech on the BP oil disaster, I had a version of that experience. I hadn‘t, of course, been in an argument with the president or anything, I just couldn‘t stop running tape in my head of what I wish that speech had been like, what I wish he‘d said.
An Oval Office address is a priceless chance to get the nation to stop what it‘s doing, to stop every other TV show in the country, to get us all to pay attention, all at once, to this crisis and to what the president has to say about it.
What if he had started off by saying, “Good evening”? OK, actually, he did start off by saying, “Good evening.” But what if right after he said, “Good evening,” he said, I‘m here to announce three major developments in the response to the BP oil disaster that continues right now to ravage the beloved gulf coast of the United States of America.
I wish I could tell you that the first development is that BP has capped the well, stopped the leak. They haven‘t. They can‘t. They don‘t know how. And no one else does either. Their best hope is a relief well, which poses its own risks and challenges and which, even in a best-case scenario, affords no relief until August.
All this, the might of this, the mightiest nation on earth and the combined expertise of the richest, most technologically ambitious corporations the world has ever seen cannot, it turns out, cannot cap an oil well when it breaks 5,000 deep in the ocean.
It‘s something that mankind does not yet have the technological capability to fix. And that brings us to the first development in this disaster that I am announcing tonight.
Never again will any company, anyone be allowed to drill in a location where they are incapable of dealing with the potential consequences of that drilling.
When the benefits of drilling accrue to a private company, but the risks of that drilling accrue to we, the American people, whose waters and shoreline are savaged when things go wrong, I, as fake president, stand on the side of the American people and say to the industry, “From this day forward, if you cannot handle the risk, you no longer will take chances with our fate to reap your rewards.”
Our nation‘s regulatory oversight of the oil industry has been a joke in many ways for decades, from the revolving door of industry apparatchiks taking supposed oversight jobs in the government in which they just rubber stamp the desires of the industry to which they were loyal, to energy industry lobbyists themselves being allowed in secret meetings to write our nation‘s policies.
In light of the state of the gulf right now, my fellow Americans, the details of how industry has infiltrated and infected the government that was supposed to be a watchdog, protecting the American public from them, those details are enough to turn your stomach.
But no detail tells you more about the corroding power of the industry against the interests of the American people than the simple fact that they have been allowed to drill in American waters without being forced to first prove that that drilling is safe.
That will never happen again, as long as I am fake president. When I announced in March that my administration‘s energy policy would include expanded offshore drilling, that policy change was predicated on our acceptance of the oil industry‘s assurances, our acceptance of their assurances that they knew how to do that kind of drilling safely.
They were lying. It cannot be done safely, not when no technology exists to cap a blowout on the sea floor. Offshore drilling will not be expanded in American waters. The moratorium will be held firm and in place, unless and until this industry conclusively demonstrates major advances in safety.
Oil industry jobs are important and I will work with industry to mitigate the impact on American families who survive on oil company paychecks. But in the 21st century and in the name of the 11 oil workers who were killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig blew out, we will not play Russian roulette with workers‘ lives and we will not play Russian roulette irreversible national environmental disaster for the sake of some short-term income.
The second major development I‘m announcing tonight, my fellow Americans, concerns another oil industry assurance we can no longer believe. The industry has long assured us that they were capable of handling spilled oil.
In BP‘s own disaster response plan for the Gulf of Mexico, they claimed they were perfectly capable of containing and cleaning up to 250,000 barrels of oil a day, that no significant amount of oil spill of even that size would get to shore, would foul beaches, would kill wildlife or destroy wetlands. They were lying when they gave that assurance.
And the industry is lying when it says it takes seriously its responsibilities to contain and cleanup disasters that they cause. The same low-tech ineffective equipment and techniques are being used to respond to this oil disaster today that were used in the 1960s and ‘70s to respond to spills back then.
That‘s because the industry has not invested in any new containment and cleanup technology in all of these decades, because they haven‘t cared too much about it as an issue and it shows. It shows both in the inept technology that we have to deploy, to contain, to clean up a spill like this.
And it also shows in the lackadaisical, uncoordinated, unprofessional way this inept technology has been deployed by BP. Beaches have been fouled. Wetlands have been destroyed. Wildlife has been killed that should have been saved. Pensacola Bay in Florida, if properly boomed, should never have been breached by oil. Perdido Pass of Orange Beach, Alabama should never have been breached by oil.
Queen Bess Island, the pelican nesting ground and Barataria Bay in Louisiana - Barataria Bay itself - none of these areas should have been breached by oil even given the sad state of existing technology to stop it. But the fact that those areas were breached is BP‘s human error.
And tonight, as fake president, I‘m announcing a new federal command specifically for containment and cleanup of oil that has already entered the Gulf of Mexico with priority of protecting shoreline that can still be saved, shoreline that is vulnerable to all that has not yet been hit.
I‘ve asked the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to assist me in the diplomatic side of this, in soliciting, green lighting and expediting all international offers of help, from experts in booming and skimming all over the world.
We will bring in the best experts and the best equipment from anywhere on earth to dramatically increase our efforts to get the oil out of the water and off the coast. Oil industry workers are often trained in booming and skimming.
I‘m hereby directing BP to fund booming and skimming crash academies for all available oil industry personnel anywhere in the world to radically overhaul what has been a haphazard, halfhearted, totally unacceptable protection effort starting immediately.
No expense will be spared and no excuses will be brooked. Even if the oil leak is capped today, the oil in the water will continue to surge towards shore for weeks if not months. As fake president, I will personally issue a public update on cleanup and containment efforts every single day until this disaster is under control.
And finally, the third development I have to announce to you tonight in the response to this oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is about how we got here and how that will change.
Every president in the modern era has complained that America must get off oil. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now, I, fake President Obama - we have all intoned solemnly that we must get off oil.
Now that we have, at the hands of the oil industry, experienced the worst environmental disaster in American history, the time for talk is over. The world is different now. Our country is different now. The scales have fallen from our eyes.
People say we‘re not ready. They‘re right. We‘re not ready. We also weren‘t ready to fight in World War II before Pearl Harbor happened. But events forced that upon us and events have forced this fight upon us now.
I no longer say that we must get off oil like every president before has said, too. I no longer say we must get off oil. We will get of oil and here is how. The United States Senate will pass an energy bill this year. The Senate version of the year will not expand offshore drilling.
The earlier targets in that bill for energy efficiency and for renewable energy sources will be doubled or tripled. If senators use the filibuster to stop the bill, we will pass it by reconciliation which still ensures a majority vote.
If there are elements of a bill that cannot procedurally be passed by reconciliation, if those elements can be instituted by executive order, I will institute them by executive order.
The political cowardice that has kept politicians from doing right by this country, finally, on energy - finally, standing up to the oil industry - that cowardice has been drowned in oil on Queen Bess Island.
There is a new reality in this country that has been forced on us by this disaster. As president, I pledge to you that the land and sea and livelihood and lives of American people will be put first as with the other thing that is humanly possible to stop this disaster.
We will never again let the oil industry put America at this kind of risk. We will save what can still be saved that is directly at risk in the gulf and we will free ourselves as a nation, once and for all, from the grip of this industry that has lied to us as much as it has exploited us, as much as it has befouled us with its toxic affluent.
The oil age, America, is over. If you are with me, let your senator know it. I will next speak to you about the BP oil disaster tomorrow with my first public update and the cleanup effort in the gulf. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
Oh, and one more thing. I‘ve also decided I‘m not a White Sox fan anymore.
I‘m a Red Sox fan and I‘m closing Guantanamo. Thank you. Bye.
So in my mind, last night, that‘s what the president said which is why I will never run for anything because I say stuff like “toxic affluent” and I get all weepy when I‘m mad. Also, when I‘m mad, I get blotchy and nobody likes a blotchy president."

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