Friday, June 4, 2010

The shit people should be bitching at Obama for

Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of attempts by the right to label this oil spill Obama's Katrina or even Obama's 9/11 in an attempt to anchor it around his neck and use it to drag him down into the briny deep. This is a bit odd, because according to those same people, 9/11 and Katrina were handled expertly by Bush and in no way mistakes or examples of negligence/incompetence.

But there has also been lesser attempts by the media and commentators to get mad at Obama for.... something. Apparently he isn't mad enough, or too mad, or not doing enough, or doing too much, or something. I've found these to be a little shallow and reactionary. Frankly, what BP is attempting to do to seal up the leak is basically all that can be done. What, is Obama refusing to turn into Aquaman, swim down to the underwater leak, and use his magical Aquaman powers to seal it up? We know who you are, Barry, no need to protect that secret identity!

But because we're miserable bastards that can only find fault in things, that doesn't mean we can't pillory the President for making mistakes. Massive mistakes. And thanks to the blog Brendan Calling, we have good reason to. Mostly having to do with failing to clean up the scandal ridden Minerals Management Service and hiring an industry shill in Ken Salazar to head up the Department of the Interior.
Ken Salazar to the head the Department of the Interior.Salazar’s appointment was slammed by environmentalists, who said things like “It’s no surprise oil and gas, mining, agribusiness and other polluting industries that have dominated Interior are supporting rancher Salazar — he’s their friend.”
Would you like to know what Mr. Salazar did about the corruption at MMS? NOTHING. In fact, last year Mr. Salazar appointed an eight-year BP executive to be the deputy administrator for land and minerals management, which makes Salazar’s promise, delivered yesterday, of a crackdown nothing more than a bad joke. Salazar should be fired immediately.

Obama has had nearly two years to clean up the MMS, and he did NOTHING.
Deepwater Horizon moved into the Tiber oil field in September 2009, and Obama’s BP-staffed MMS exempted Deepwater horizon from an environmental impact study. Would that have happened under... an MMS purged of the scandal ridden staff everyone’s known about since at least 2008 (and maybe even as far back as 2005, 2006, 2007, as Ken Salazar admitted yesterday, in a defense that sounded more like an indictment of himself)?

I can’t answer that: what I can tell you is that no one can say “I didn’t know” because it’s a matter of record that MMS was mired in corruption. Allowing the same rotted people to run the agency amounts to negligence.
Yeah, that seems like a large string of bad decisions. You should really click the link and go read the full piece as it's full of damning excepts and news articles chronicling the bad judgment. The exempting the Deepwater Horizon from an environmental study and hiring a former BP exec to be the deputy administrator for land and minerals management seems quite bad. Glenn Greenwald makes a similar point about Salazar, shady industry ties, and negligence (including the Deepwater Horizon plan getting rubber stamped in less than 10 minutes and BP hiring the lobbying group owned by Obama transition chief John Podesta to lobby the White House) in his article on Salon.

So maybe instead of complaining whether the President is showing enough anger at the situation or yelling enough, maybe this is the kind of thing the media should look into. Though I will admit "Administration has close ties with industry" and "Corporations concerns given more weight than environmentalists' and non-moneyed sources" are hardly surprising stories. I'm sure the media will get right on it. Just like I'm sure revelations like this will result in our government not being so nakedly entwined with the interests it is supposed to be regulating.

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