Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Napolitano Says U.S. Mexican Border Is 'As Secure As Ever' While Terrorists Infiltrate Border

U.S Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, says the U.S. Mexican border is 'as secure now as it has ever been.' Meanwhile, terrorists are infiltrating the border and violence is increasing near the border:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Will Obama denounce the G20 Summit Violence and the Left-Wing anarchists?

Violent demonstrations erupted over the weekend outside the G20 summit in Toronto, as hundreds of left-wing, anti-capitalist anarchists, armed with with bricks and baseball bats, smashed store front windows and torched police cars.

The violent demonstrations were reminiscent of the horrific and pernicious protests waged by Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground during the 60's and 70's, albeit, not quite as lethal.

President Obama - whose political coming-out party in the mid-1990s was hosted by Bill Ayers, a renowned opponent of capitalism - has yet to denounce the anti-capitalist thugs and the violent acts which they perpetrated over the weekend.

Hopefully, the President will denounce the aforementioned thugs on Monday - with or without Mr. Ayers' permission....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Obama to Kyl: US-Mexican Border is my Hostage, pay ransom, or else...!

At an Arizona town hall meeting on Friday, Senator Jon Kyl revealed that President Obama had confided to him - in a private meeting [in the Oval Office] on Friday - that securing the Mexican border poses a unique problem for him: “The problem," the President said, "is, if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform'!"

Sen. Kyl explained to the audience: “In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with Comprehensive Immigration Reform!”

My. Kyl went on to say that he asserted to the President that regardless of his stance on Immigration Reform, “you and I have an obligation to secure the border. That’s an obligation!"

The audience was stunned by the aforementioned revelation. But, in truth, the President's statement should come as no surprise to anyone. This type of political maneuvering and hostage-taking - despite all of the reported violence taking place near the border - is typical Chicago-style politics, and it fully comports with the President's political ideology.

No surprise, no shock; just vintage Obama.......

Obama administration still giving waivers & exemptions for unsafe oil drilling projects

From Philly.com:
Despite President Obama's promises of better safeguards for offshore drilling, federal regulators continue to approve plans for oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico with minimal or no environmental analysis.

The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service has signed off on at least five new offshore drilling projects since June 2, when the agency's acting director announced tougher safety regulations for drilling in the gulf, a McClatchy Newspapers review of public records has found.

Three of the projects were approved with waivers exempting them from detailed studies of their environmental impact - the samewaiver the MMS granted to BP for the ill-fated well that has been fouling the gulf with crude for two months.

In a May 14 speech in the Rose Garden, Obama said he was "closing the loophole that has allowed some oil companies to bypass some critical environmental reviews." Environmental groups, however, say that the loophole is as wide as ever and that the administration is allowing oil companies to proceed with drilling plans that might be just as flawed as BP's...

Congressional investigators found that 11 days before the April 20 explosion aboard BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, the company sent a letter to federal officials [the letter was sent to the White House Council On Environmental Quality, which is headed by Obama apointee, Nancy Sutley] urging them to continue issuing the waivers "to avoid unnecessary paperwork and time delays."

"The fact that the agency continued to spit them out while oil was pouring into the gulf is just ridiculous to the extreme," said Mike Senatore, an attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, a nonprofit environmental group.
Sadly, Mr. Senatore fails to comprehend that the President has been forced to spend much-needed leisure time at the Golf course, and he may be too busy to block the oil companies from working on projects that lack the most elementary and basic safety standards.

Mr. Senatore also fails to recognize that the Obama administration - in 2009 - had absolutely no choice but "to support the reversal of a court order that would have halted offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico", due to the fact that Obama has been the biggest recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years. Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, [another big-time recipient of BP cash who has long had close ties to the industry] - when pushing to reverse the aforementioned court order - "specifically cited BP’s Deepwater Horizon operation as one that should be allowed to go forward, according to a group involved in the court case."

Here's the way it works: When one receives big bucks from a particular benefactor, he has no choice but to show that benefactor a bit of gratitude by backing him [them] to the hilt. Hence, the President and his administration are clearly not at fault for the oil spill and all the new and unsafe drilling projects that are currently taking off in the Gulf. And yet, there are some who prefer to criticize the President for his inadvertently lackadaisical response to the oil spill and his blameless, faultless and helpless indifference to the people living in the Gulf Coast - when, in reality, the blame should be placed solely and exclusively at Tony Hayward's doorstep; for indeed the buck stops with Mr. Hayward, and not with the White House.

Nevertheless, it goes without saying that the President is fully capable of turning this whole thing around - and that will indeed happen, if he finds a way to improve his performance at the golf course....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Obama defends GOLF effort?

The mainstream media on Saturday assailed BP CEO Tony Hayward after learning that - despite the ongoing oil spill crisis - he had taken time off over the weekend to attend a yacht race in England. This, in turn, prompted a sense of bewilderment among many in the blogosphere, who wondered why the [mainstream] media was focusing exclusively on Mr. Hayward's leisure time activities, while turning a blind eye to President Obama's multi-hour golf outing on Saturday.

Others have noted that Obama's schedule - since the explosion of the BP oil rig - has included a host of leisure-time activities, including, several golf outings; partying on stage with with former Beatles star, Paul McCartney; hanging out with rock singer, Bono; attending a Major league baseball game [Friday]; a picnic; various fundraisers, and the list goes on... I've also noted previously that the President's visit to the Gulf, several weeks ago, had likely been delayed a few days because he had decided to attend several fundraisers in San Francisco earlier in the week, including one fundraiser at the home of billionaire oil heirs, Ann and Gordon Getty.

Nevertheless, as the oil spill crisis rages on and Obama contines to indulge in a wide array of leisure-time activities - including the game of Golf - you can't help but me amused by the following headline - even if it is a typographical error:

Obama defends GOLF effort in Oval Office address

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Ditherer in Chief and the 'Underseas Contingency Operation' in the Gulf

In his Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday, President Obama likened the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to a war.

"Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists," the President said. "And tonight, I've returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we're waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens."

It goes without saying that members of the distinguished Oil Community - namely, the myriad of gallons of oil living beneath the Earth's surface - were quite taken aback when the President - crudely and crassly - stitched together the words "battle" and "oil" to describe the latest cleanup efforts. The President would have been better served had he referred to the oil spill cleanup as an "Underseas Contingency Operation", as he has done with "The War Against Te- - or, [shhh], discarding the now-obsolete moniker in favor of the new moniker, "Overseas Contingency Operation".

Nevertheless, Obama continued with his address to the nation, saying that "I'd like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward' - although he never really did lay out a concrete battle plan. He then proceeded to give an open ended commitment to the "Oil War", vowing that "we will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long as it takes".

However, it should be noted that the President, in March of 2009, had also given an open-ended commitment to the war in Afghanistan and the Afghani people when he said that "the United States has made a lasting commitment to defeat Al Qaeda and to support the democratically elected, sovereign governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan," adding, "that commitment will not waver, and that support will be sustained." And yet, several months later, the President reversed himself and said that the US commitment to Afghanistan was "not open-ended'' and that "we need to make clear to the Afghan government that our commitment is not open-ended." Consequently, the President, in December of 2009 - in his address to the cadets at West Point - said that US troops would begin to return home from Afgahnistan 18 months after deployment.

Hence, the question arises, can we really take Obama at his word when he vows to "fight this spill... for as long as it takes"?

Furthermore, the President has been conspicuously slow in responding to the Oil Spill. Just as he had dithered on whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan, he has also dithered with regards to the country's newest so-called war - the 'The Oil War'.

And thus, the question arises once again, can we really trust Obama?

Does the "Ditherer in Chief" possess both the necessary courage and the fortitude to fight this "Oil War" to the end?

Only time will tell........

State, Local governments frustrated with Federal response, take oil matters into their own hands

From Fox News:
Now that tar balls are washing ashore along the beaches of Okaloosa Island [in Florida], county commissioners say it's time to stop waiting for the federal government's Unified Command Center to approve closing its East Pass -- the area leading to the docks of the profitable fishing village in the town of Destin.

“Over the last 50 days," Okaloosa County Commissioner Chairman Wayne Harris told FoxNews.com, "I like to say we played the game, if you will. We did what we were required to do, which was wait for all the permitting processes and wait for all the permission ....

"Over that period of time, it was obvious to us that somebody in those levels were not communicating with each other.”

Frustration started when the county devised a $9 million plan to implement an extensive boom system of barges and air curtains to close off all inlets and bayous from incoming oil. But the government rejected that proposal and began reducing the number of areas a system would protect. That, Harris says, is when the county decided to take matters into its own hands.

“We were getting the bureaucratic shuffle," he said. "We couldn’t wait for the bureaucratic process. We could not wait for indecisiveness.

"This is our county, and our people depend on us to make decisions.”

From the Daily Caller - June 15:
Florida’s Okaloosa county is telling the federal government it will no longer take orders in responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a decision made in response to the county’s deep frustration with the Obama administration’s response to the spill.

The county appears to be the first local government to openly flaunt the official response to the spill. Others, such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have complained bitterly of inaction and red tape regarding their response to the spill, but have thus far refrained from taking measures not approved by the federal or state authorities. Even Jindal, though, has become more assertive in the last day, ordering the National Guard to start building barrier islands off Lousiana’s coast.

Okaloosa’s decision and Jindal’s order could mark a new break between frustrated local authorities and the coordinated spill response.

County commissioner Wayne Harris said leaders of Okaloosa County are prepared to face any consequences for their renegade response. It’s that important, he said, to protect the county’s Choctawhatchee Bay, which is “too wonderful to destroy ecologically.”

"...We decided to be our own unified command. We have to stop it before it gets here,” Harris told The Daily Caller...

Harris said federal agencies... have repeatedly opposed Okaloosa’s plans for responding to the spill.

“Some of the plans we put together, every time we turn around one of the other agencies says, ‘No, you can’t do that,’” Harris said.

Further, the government’s response is clumsy. “The Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, the EPA all these different agencies aren’t talking to each other,” Harris said. At one point, the Coast Guard “ran over” booms the county had put up to stop the oncoming oil, Harris said.

And while Okaloosa’s decision is a somewhat drastic step, Harris said it’s necessary in such dire circumstances.

“Our tourism, our tax base, we’re losing our shorts down here. We’re losing our jobs down here … Our government’s not doing anything to help us.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Campaign Finance Bill, Backroom Deals, Totalitarianism - It Reeks!

Congressional Democrats are once again engaging in "backroom dealing" to push through legislation that would impose new disclosure requirements on campaign advertising and other political activity.

Case in point: House Democrats on Monday reached a compromise that would exempt the National Rifle Association and various organizations from the proposed disclosure requirements.

In June of 2008, the Politico reported that the National Rifle Association planned to spend approximately $40 million on the 2008 campaign, with $15 million of that money devoted to delineate Barack Obama as a threat to the Second Amendment rights.

"Since 2000," the Political wrote, "Democrats have made a conscious decision to avoid alienating gun owners and Second Amendment enthusiasts, as many in the party believe a NRA-stoked backlash cost Al Gore his home state of Tennessee , as well as West Virginia and Arkansas, in the 2000 presidential election."

Hence, the Politico contended, Obama decided not to raise the gun issue on the campaign stump except, when asked, to say that he respects Second Amendment rights.

And so it seems Democrats in Congress do not want to alienate the NRA, hence the latest backroom deal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday offered up some strong words to express his disgust with the NRA exemption:

"Taxpayers are still fuming over a health care process where their money was thrown around like a high roller in a hotel lobby to win last-minute votes," he said. "and now the same backroom dealing is being repeated with their freedom of speech."

The question at hand is not whether the proposed legislation is constitutional or not - for as I will soon explain, this piece of legislation is nothing more than partisan maneuvering, underhanded intimidation and most likely unconstitutional - the question at hand is whether the American people can tolerate anymore of this corruption: these shady backroom deals and preferred treatment that have been offered to various organizations.

Nevertheless, it is important to note the extent of injustice that is contained within the proposed legislation.

Let me cite a letter, written by Americans for Tax Reform and about fifty other organizations, and recently sent to the United States House of Representatives. The aforementioned letter pretty much sums up all that is wrong and abhorrent about this bill:

Dear Member of the United States House of Representatives,

We write on behalf of the millions of taxpayers and concerned citizens represented by our respective organizations to urge Congress to reject H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, an egregious attempt by the majority to stifle political speech.

H.R. 5175 is being sold to the public as a “response” to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. However, this bill uses the ruling as an excuse to expand the scope of campaign finance regulations to strangle free speech.


This bill runs afoul of this precedent in two ways: by forcing the top donors of a group, who are not necessarily the specific donors to an ad, to appear in a political communication and by forcing groups to disclose members of their organization who are not necessarily funding communications. This shifts the regulatory paradigm away from those who are actually funding advertisements and targets, for the first time, individual membership in a group. This inclusive treatment of organizational funding reveals that the intent of this legislation is not true disclosure – it is the intimidation of speech.

The bill also marks a stark departure from the traditional treatment of corporations and unions by applying punitive measures to associations in the corporate form, but not to labor unions. Historically, these entities have been treated interchangeably in campaign finance law. The attempt now to separate these associations amounts to nothing more than partisan maneuvering for political gain and sparks constitutional concerns under the Equal Protection clause.

Moreover, in its recent ruling in Citizens United, the Supreme Court held that the identity of the speaker cannot provide justification for the inhibition of its speech. By allowing union speech while punishing the speech of similar associations, H.R. 5175 does exactly this.

The Committee on House Administration’s rejection of amendments that would have subjected unions to the same treatment as corporations under this bill illustrates the intention of this act – to exclude certain groups from the political dialogue...
I don't think I need to add any additional commentary to the aforementioned letter. The chicanery, craftiness and underhandedness of the both the White House and Congressional Democrats knows no bounds. Their attempt to impose totalitarian laws upon the American people is nefarious, despicable and odious - at best!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Deputy AG nominee, James Cole, a former defense attorney for Saudi terrorism financier, likens terrorists attacks to Domestic Crimes of Murder, Rape

It should come as no big surprise that President Obama nominated James Cole to be Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Cole, after all, shares the President's view that terrorists should be treated as ordinary criminals rather than enemy combatants.

It should also be noted that Mr. Cole, as defense attorney at the law firm of Bryan Cave, represented Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, who'd been involved in financing terrorists [aka Al Qaeda].

Oh, I forget to mention that Mr. Cole had been hired by the DOJ and SEC to work as an independent consultant to monitor business [investment] practices at now-bailed-out AIG. On the same day that the President nominated Mr. Cole to be Deputy AG, the Department of Justice closed its two-year investigation of several AIG executives and exonerated them of all criminal wrongdoing. More on that at the end of this post:

From CNS News:
Despite a resolution by Congress authorizing war against those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Obama’s nominee to be the number two official at the Justice Department, James Cole, wrote an op-ed in 2002 likening the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to the domestic crimes of murder, rape and child abuse, while arguing that the attackers ought to be treated like domestic criminals.

“But the attorney general is not a member of the military fighting a war--he is a prosecutor fighting crime,” Cole wrote in a Sept. 9, 2002 article in Legal Times that critiqued the way then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft was handling the 9/11 case.

“For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like the terrorist acts of Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City...,” said Cole. “The criminals responsible for these horrible acts were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system, without the need for special procedures that altered traditional due process rights.

“Our country has faced many forms of devastating crime, including the scourge of the drug trade, the reign of organized crime, and countless acts of rape, child abuse, and murder. The acts of Sept. 11 were horrible, but so are these other things,” Cole wrote in his op-ed...
Read the rest.

James Cole is a personal friend of Attorney General Eric Holder and is currently a defense attorney at Bryan Cave. Mr. Cole served as a former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Division during the Clinton administration while Holder was serving as Deputy Attorney General:

From The Hill:
“Jim is going to be a great deputy attorney general,” Holder said during a news conference to discuss a recent drug bust. “I’ve known him for a good number of years; we worked together a long time ago in [Justice’s] Public Integrity Section. To have him on board in aconfirmed position, in confirmed status, is extremely important to the running of the Justice Department.”

Republicans likely will grill Cole about his representation of Saudi Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud after insurance carriers and Sept. 11 survivors tried to sue him and others after allegations surfaced that they had been involved in financing terrorists.

Editor's Note: Prince Naif ran the Al Haramain Foundation, a Saudi charity designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a facilitator of terrorism, which diverted charitable funds to Al Qaeda both before and after Sept.11, 2001.

As the second-highest official at Justice, Cole would... likely play a key role in decisions involving terrorist prosecutions.... Republicans have blasted Holder for reading the failed Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights just hours after ascertaining him and beginning to question him...
The AIG Connection:

From Main Justice:
When Deputy Attorney General nominee James Cole appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing, Republicans plan to question him on his work monitoring insurance giant American International Group (AIG)...

Cole’s firm earned fees of about $20 million for its work as a compliance monitor [at AIG], according to The Wall Street Journal. Some of the transactions Cole examined had been structured by AIG’s Financial Products group, the same unit that would later write billions of dollars worth of credit default swaps that almost destroyed the company and forced the government into a costly rescue deal fearing the potential damage to the overall economy.

As a monitor, Cole regularly attended AIG Board of Directors committee meetings, including at least two February 2008 meetings where board members were told of findings of “material weakness” in the company’s accounting systems that were uncovered by auditors at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the Journal reported.

A Bryan Cave representative declined to comment on Cole. Calls to Cole were referred to the White House. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment.
From Whistle-Blower:
On May 21st, the White House nominated James Cole of Bryan Cave, LLP for the position of Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Cole was the Independent Consultant at AIG in the years leading up to the September ’08 bailout there.

On the same afternoon, the Department of Justice closed its two-year investigation of Joseph Cassano, Andrew Forster, and Thomas Athan of the London-based Financial Products Unit of AIG and informed them that they would not face criminal charges.

Cassano was the CEO at AIG-FP, Forster was the head trader and executive vice president and Athan was a managing director. None of them will be the subject of criminal prosecution, according to the Washington Post.

So, just about two years after AIG nearly runs the international economic system over a cliff, the Justice Department decides there was no criminal wrongdoing and the former AIG monitor is selected to run the day-to-day operations of the Justice Department...
Conclusion: Taking all of the above into consideration, it is perfectly understandable why President Obama chose Mr. Cole to be Deputy Attorney General. In the post 9/11 era, Mr. Cole would seem to be the perfect man for the job. It goes without saying that he will serve this country well.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is Tony Hayward more heinous than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

US Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen Sunday announced that President Obama has finally agreed to meet with BP's CEO Tony Hayward. The meeting will take place on Wednesday - 57 days after a BP oil rig exploded and started leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

In an interview with the TODAY show last week, President Obama offered up a lame excuse as to why he had refused to speak with Mr. Hayward [even over the phone, apparently]. And yet, during the Presidential campaign - Mr. Obama said he'd be willing to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, without any preconditions.

Which begs the question: Why did President Obama, ever so eagerly, offer to meet, in person, with Mr. Ahmadinejad, and yet refuse to speak with Mr. Hayward [even over the phone]? Does Obama feel more comfortable, and more at ease, in Mr. Ahmadinejad's presence than he does communicating with Mr, Hayward, via the telephone?

Hmmm, a real head-scratcher, indeed.......

Related Post: BP CEO, Tony Hayward: Obama hasn't spoken to me about the Oil Spill disaster

Obama kowtows to Labor Unions, allows Oil Spill to wreak havoc on the Gulf

From the Daily Caller:
President Obama is impeding clean-up efforts in the Gulf by kowtowing to unions and members of the American maritime industry, critics have charged in recent days. At issue is the president’s refusal to waive the Jones Act, a century-old law that effectively bars foreign-owned ships from moving between U.S. ports, a necessary component of participating in the cleanup effort.

When asked why President Obama hasn’t waived the Jones Act — which President Bush put on hold to facilitate Katrina rescue efforts — White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said a suspension wasn’t necessary.

But Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat, and others say the act is keeping boats from getting on the water to lay boom and skim oil...
From For Libery:
Three days after the [oil rig] explosion, the Dutch government offered to assist the United States by sending ships equipped with oil-skimming booms. It also provided a plan for creating sand barriers to protect the sensitive marshlands of the Gulf coast.

According to Geert Visser, Consul General for the Netherlands in Houston “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’”

Almost seven weeks later, the administration finally relented and agreed to accept partial Dutch assistance with the cleanup. The administration has not accepted Dutch ships, but has allowed the skimming booms to be airlifted from the Netherlands and deployed in the Gulf.

Part of the problem is the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. This act is a piece of protectionist legislation which requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States...

The United States Maritime Administration could issue a waiver of the Jones Act limitations, and has done so several times in the past. [President Bush issued a waiver of the Jones Act to facilitate Katrina rescue efforts.] Doing so, however, would subject the Obama administration to criticism from labor unions who demand protection from global competition.....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Unemployment Rate Drops Thanks to Census Jobs

"The unemployment rate fell from 9.9 to 9.7 percent, as thousands of people exited the labor pool"... Heh....

Of course, it has also been reported that the Census Department is hiring employees to work just several hours a month, which allows them to hire more people and subsequently, gives the Obama administration the opportunity to say that more jobs are being created. Whether these reports are true or not, I do not know, but this is what many census employees are saying. In fact, many of them have said that they've been fired and rehired a number of times - which raises the following question: When the Government fires and employee and hires someone else to take his place, is it then able to boast that 2 jobs were created, when, in fact, only one was created? Many believe this is the case, although I've yet to confirm whether this is true or not.

In any case, there reportedly is an overabundance of census employees who are working very few hours per month. However, as long as the administration can say the economy is rebounding, it seems it's perfectly okay to tamper with the numbers in this way.

Politics, after all, is a game, and Obama is well within his rights, as a Chicago-style pol, to game the system to his advantage....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jobless claims - Expect the usual Spin from the White House

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for jobless benefits dropped last week by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 453,000. Undoubtedly, the Obama administration will hail this latest report as a sign that the US economy is recovering. However, it's important to note the following:

The recent drop in jobless claims is only due to the fact that there was a sharp increase in jobless claims three weeks ago.

Here's the real deal: In the week ending May 15, the Labor Department reported that initial claims for jobless benefits had risen to 471,000, an increase of 25,000 from the previous week's figure of 446,000. Which means there were 446,000 jobless claims in the first week of May and, as of last week [as noted above], there were 453,000 jobless claims - that's an increase of 7000. The numbers appear to be dropping now only because of the sharp increase that occurred in the week ending May 15. In fact, the Labor Department, in its report on Thursday, noted that "the 4-week moving average [of jobless claims] was 459,000, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week's average of 457,250."

But more importantly, as Business Week points out, the Labor Department on Friday is expected to report that the economy added 513,000 jobs in May, but as many as 300,000 of those positions are expected to be temporary Census positions. Or, as one commentator put it, "much of that expected gain is due to workers hired to perform the once-a-decade census who will lose their jobs in the second half of the year." What's more, according to CNBC, some economists have raised the number of census workers in their forecasts from 300,000 to 450,000 [and estimated private sector payrolls at 150,000].

But of course, Census positions are not the only kind of temporary jobs out there. Thus, the question arises: How many of the remaining jobs, added in May, other than the census jobs, are temporary and how many are permanent? How many are part time and how many are full time? According to the Labor Department's website, "people are considered employed if they did any work at all for pay or profit during the survey week. This includes all part-time and temporary work."

And so, while the White House on Friday will no doubt hail the Labor Department's report as a sign that the US economy is recovering, this, like all the other rhetoric emanating from the White House, is nothing more than hot air - just the usual spin.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Palin to Environmental wackos: Drill, Baby, Drill in ANWR – Now Do You Get It?

From Sarah Palin's Facebook Page:
This is a message to extreme “environmentalists” who hypocritically protest domestic energy production offshore and onshore. There is nothing “clean and green” about your efforts...

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.

We need permission to drill in safer areas, including the uninhabited arctic land of ANWR. It takes just a tiny footprint – equivalent to the size of LA’s airport – to tap America’s rich and plentiful oil and gas up north. ANWR’s drilling footprint is like a postage stamp on a football field...

Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There’s nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives.
"Drill, Baby, Drill in ANWR." Good point.

Jobless Rate Rises in Most U.S. Cities

From the Wall Street Journal:
The job market in April was tougher than a year ago in hundreds of U.S. metropolitan areas, according to data the U.S. Labor Department released Wednesday.

The unemployment rate in April was higher than a year earlier in 291 of the 372 metropolitan areas covered by the Labor Department report...

The national unemployment rate in April was 9.5%, not seasonally adjusted. But 14 areas—11 of which were in California—reported unemployment rates of at least 15%...

300 metropolitan areas in April reported year-over-year decreases in nonfarm payroll employment. Eight regions were unchanged. While unemployment rate data is derived from household surveys, the nonfarm payroll data comes from payrolls...

State Department gift shop sells US flag pins made in China

From The Cable:
In the basement of the State Department, there's a gift shop that holds a bounty of treasures. Employees in search of souvenirs of their time in Foggy Bottom can buy anything from hooded sweatshirts to coffee mugs to teddy bears, with the State Department seal embossed in a very official fashion on the front...

What really caught our eye in a recent visit to the shop were the bins full of lapel pins featuring American flags. The right lapel pin can put the finishing touch on any diplomat's ensemble. But as you can see, the tiny packages holding the pins clearly indicate they were "MADE IN CHINA."...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The White House, Ken Salazar and the Oil Spill Cover-Up - Part 3

Appearing in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday with the two men he has appointed to lead an inquiry into the cause of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, President Obama said that investigators [into the cause of the oil spill] "have my full support to follow the facts wherever they may lead."

“When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar took office," the President added, "he found a Minerals and Management Services agency that had been plagued by corruption for years -- corruption... that uncovered appalling activity that took place before last year. Secretary Salazar immediately took steps to clean up that corruption. But this oil spill has made clear that more reforms are needed. For years, there’s been a far too cozy relationship between oil companies and the agencies that regulate them."

But unfortunately, until the President is more forthcoming about the role that Mr. Salazar and other members of his administration played in permitting BP to continue its drilling operation in the Gulf - despite warnings that the operation was unsafe - any investigation into the oil spill will be greatly hindered and largely ineffective.

I am not too keen on referencing articles from an unabashedly socialist website, but I will do so today in order to make my point:
In 2009, the Obama administration intervened to support the reversal of a court order that would have halted offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who has long had close ties to the industry, specifically cited BP’s Deepwater Horizon operation as one that should be allowed to go forward, according to a group involved in the court case.

A Washington DC Appeals Court ruled in April 2009 that... a [proposed] five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling (covering 2007 to 2012) was not based on a proper review of the environmental impact of the drilling. Only days before the ruling, the Obama administration had granted BP a “categorical exclusion,” exempting it from an environmental impact study for the Deepwater Horizon project.

The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry trade group, intervened to reverse the court order, and was backed by the administration.

KierĂ¡n Suckling, executive director and founder the Center for Biological Diversity, which was involved in the original lawsuit, said that Salazar “filed a special motion asking the court to lift the injunction, and he cited the BP drilling several times by name in the request.”

In July 2009, the court ruled that drilling in both the Gulf and off the coast of Alaska could continue, on the condition that the administration conduct a study of the potential environmental risks. This study has yet to be completed.

Salazar praised the decision at the time, saying it allowed the administration to go forward with “a comprehensive energy plan,” including the BP project and a sale of leases for drilling in the Gulf.

The administration has publicly announced that no new offshore drilling grants will be issued until a review, to be completed by the end of the month. Nevertheless, at least 27 exemptions have been granted, including one for a BP exploration plan for drilling at more than 4,000 feet. Another exemption was granted to Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for an exploration plan at more than 9,000 feet. The Deepwater Horizon was drilling at about 5,000 feet...

Suckling noted that as a Senator for Colorado, Salazar, [who Obama appointed to be his Interior Secretary], supported the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, which expanded drilling. Salazar received money from BP, and when he became Interior Secretary he brought several BP officials on his staff. [Obama, however, has been the biggest recipient of BP cash].
I have also noted previously, via the Washington Post, that "BP has lobbied the White House Council on Environmental Quality [which provides NEPA guidance for all federal agencies] to provide categorical exemptions more often. In an April 9 letter [just eleven days before the catastrophic oil spill], BP America's senior federal affairs director..., wrote to the council [which is headed by an Obama appointee] that such exemptions should be used in situations where environmental damage is likely to be "minimal or non-existent." An expansion in these waivers would help "avoid unnecessary paperwork and time delays", she wrote."

The New York Times noted that on April 15 [six days after the White House Council on Environmental Quality received the aforementioned letter], BP filed a request for a permit to revise plans to deal with blockages and obstructions it had encountered in the well [in the Gulf]. Less than 10 minutes after the request was submitted, federal regulators approved the permit.

The New York Times' article is an interesting read that details how the administration continuously ignored and defied concerns about the Gulf of Mexico oil rig.

Conclusion: There's no way of knowing for certain if President Obama had been consulted about any of the aforementioned safety concerns, or if he signed off on any of the aforementioned waivers and permits etc., but a couple of things we do know, Ken Salazar is guilty as hell and Obama isn't being truthful.

The President is covering for Salazar and members of his own administration by blaming the previous administration for the current oil spill, when it is Mr. Salazar and the Obama administration that allowed the drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico to continue, despite warnings that it was unsafe.

Let's take another look at Obama's statement, the one he made today:
“When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar took office, he found a Minerals and Management Services agency that had been plagued by corruption for years -- corruption... that uncovered appalling activity that took place before last year. Secretary Salazar immediately took steps to clean up that corruption. But this oil spill has made clear that more reforms are needed. For years, there’s been a far too cozy relationship between oil companies and the agencies that regulate them."
Mr. President, it is you and Mr. Salazar, and members of your administration who need to be investigated. Thus, I ask of you, Mr. President: Will you appoint a commission to investigate yourself, and Mr. Salazar, and whoever else may be responsible for the oil-spill and the ensuing cover-up? Hmmm?

Related Posts: Oilgate? Obama and BP hiding the 'spill'?

White House Oil Spill Cover-Up?

White House Oil Spill Cover-Up - Part 2