tagged w/ politics over principle
If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more.
President Obama gave a speech at the University of Miami on Thursday discussing his energy plan — assuming that one can use the word “plan” to describe a strategy devoid of any judgment. Obviously, all-of-the-above = more of everything = more fossil fuels = Hell and High Water.
The president has come a long way from his 2008 declaration that this is “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Now it’s more like “Après nous, le Déluge” (see “JPL bombshell: Polar ice sheet mass loss is speeding up, on pace for 1 foot sea level rise by 2050“).
Just a year ago, “all-of-the-above” was actually a standard Republican talking point, so much so that Democrats routinely mocked it (see Markey slams oil-above-all” approach). It is certainly true that when the president says it, he means it, whereas the Republicans merely say it and then bitterly oppose all of the clean energy programs that Democrats put on the table. I’m not sure future generations will notice the difference.
Obama’s all-of-the-above energy speech took a none-of-the-above approach to environmental problems: It ignored them all, including the most important of them all, global warming.
Obama is currently in the midst of a failed presidency from a historical perspective because of his abandonment of the climate issue, which is the only issue future generations are going to care about if we don’t act now, as I’ve said many times.
Obama will probably get only one serious shot at redemption, the grand bargain on tax and the deficit at the end of this year (see “Bipartisan Support Grows for Carbon Price as Part of Debt Deal“). Speeches like this provide no evidence whatsoever that Obama even understands the stakes anymore.
Here are two other places in the speech where he repeats his new slogan:
OBAMA: But over the long term, an all-of-the-above energy strategy requires us having the right priorities. We’ve got to have the right incentives in place. I’ll give you an example. Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year — $4 billion. They don’t need a subsidy. They’re making near-record profits. These are the same oil companies that have been making record profits off the money you spend at the pump for several years now. How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Preach it, Mr. President! (Applause.)…
OBAMA: I said this at the State of the Union — a century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough. (Applause.) It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that has never been more profitable; double down on clean energy industries that have never been more promising — that’s what we need to do. (Applause.) This Congress needs to renew the clean energy tax credits that will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil.
The potential of a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy is all around us. Here in Miami, 2008, Miami became the first major American city to power its city hall entirely with solar and renewable energy. Right here in Miami. (Applause.) The modernization of your power grid so that it wastes less energy is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country. On a typical day, the wind turbine at the Miami-Dade Museum can meet about 10 percent of the energy needs in a South Florida home, and the largest wind producer in the country is over at Juno Beach. Right here at this university, your work is helping manufacturers save millions of dollars in energy bills by making their facilities more energy efficient. (Applause.)
This is politics over principle pure and simple. Cutting a few billion dollars to the uber-profitable fossil fuel industry is a great applause line, but it’d be like making your entire anti-smoking cutting subsidies to the tobacco industry.
Let me end with Salon’s Andrew Leonard on the speech:
By Joe Romm on Feb 27, 2012
More at the linkIf we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these... more
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 waivers were granted despite President Barack Obama’s vow that his administration would launch a “relentless response effort” to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf. One of them was dated Friday — the day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was temporarily halting offshore drilling
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.”
MMS officials said the exemptions are continuing to be issued because they do not represent final drilling approval.
To drill, a company has to file a separate application under a process that is now suspended because of Salazar’s order Thursday.
However, officials could not say whether the exemptions would stand once the moratorium is lifted.
MMS’ approvals are expected to spark new criticism of the troubled agency and the administration’s response to the spill.
Salazar announced Thursday that there’d be no new offshore drilling until the Interior Department completes the safety review process requested by Obama. The department is required to deliver the report to the president by May 28.
Given the MMS approvals, however, Galvin said the administration’s pledge appears disingenuous.
“It looks to me like they’re misleading the public,” he said.
MMS spokesman David Smith said his agency conducts a thorough review before it determines whether to grant such exemptions.
“It’s not a rubber stamp,” he said.
BP did not return calls for comment.
Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/05/07/93761/despite-spill-feds-still-giving.html#ixzz0nONIl2b1Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama... more
From George Washington's Farewell Address to the American people in 1796.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
Wise words as we have seen what he talked about here coming to fruition. Personally, I think the two party system in this country has run its course. It's time for true Democracy to come back again to America. It is time to give the people a real choice instead of the moneyed choices we get year after year which place standing and connections over reason. Factions do nothing but wear away the Democratic process, and as we have seen right now in America to the point where it is unrecognizable. We cannot even impeach a criminal regime because of political party partisanship standing in the way. The only way to bring real "change" is to then change the process instead of only changing the players. Real choice is real change. Even our founding fathers knew that.
From George Washington's Farewell Address to the American people in 1796.