Judge halts Obama’s oil-drilling ban

Judge halts Obama’s oil-drilling ban

** FILE ** Vessels operate near the Q4000 drilling rig at the site of the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, June 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

By Stephen Dinan

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A federal judge in New Orleans halted President Obama’s deepwater drilling moratorium on Tuesday, saying the government never justified the ban and appeared to mislead the public in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Judge Martin L.C. Feldman issued an injunction, saying that the moratorium will hurt drilling-rig operators and suppliers and that the government has not proved an outright ban is needed, rather than a more limited moratorium.

He also said the Interior Department also misstated the opinion of the experts it consulted. Those experts from the National Academy of Engineering have said they don’t support the blanket ban.

“Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the summary also states that ‘the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.’ As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading,” Judge Feldman said in his 22-page ruling.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration will appeal the decision, and said Mr. Obama believes the government must figure out what went wrong with the Deepwater Horizon rig before deepwater drilling goes forward. Still, the ruling is another setback as Mr. Obama seeks to show he’s in control of the 2-month-old spill.

Democrats and Republicans from the Gulf states have called on the president to end the blanket moratorium, saying it is hurting the region.

Oil company executives told Congress last week they would have to move their rigs to other countries because they lose up to $1 million a day per idle rig, and said there are opportunities elsewhere.

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Obama’s Broken Inauguration Day Promise to Gulf Coast: ‘Never Again Such Failures’

Obama’s Broken Inauguration Day Promise to Gulf Coast: ‘Never Again Such Failures’

by Kristinn Taylor

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On his first day in office, January 20, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a statement on the White House Web site promising Gulf Coast residents that his administration would not fail them like he accused his predecessor President George W. Bush.

Eighteen months later, those arrogant words are coming back to haunt Obama as the Gulf Coast is facing the third month of failure by Obama to marshall sufficient resources to protect the region from the massive BP oil spill.

“President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.”

Politico reported the statement the day it was posted to a White House page titled “Additional Issues.”

Since then, the White House has edited the comment to remove the personal insult to President Bush so that it now reads:

“President Obama will keep the broken promises to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur. Within weeks of his inauguration, he made a renewed commitment to partner with the people of the Gulf Coast to rebuild now, stronger than ever.”

Based on the Politico report, the White House also edited out verbiage bragging about Obama’s post-Katrina trips to the region:

The site also points out that Obama “visited thousands of Hurricane survivors in the Houston Convention Center and later took three more trips to the region” and worked with the Congressional Black Caucus to help rebuild in the aftermath of Katrina.

The Obama administration has left a destructive trail of catastrophic failures in its wake over the BP oil spill, beginning with its failure to ensure that an adequate disaster plan was in place for BP’s Deepwater Horizon well to its failure to secure enough skimmers and booms to prevent the spill from reaching the shores of the Gulf states.

Obama had to be shamed into making his first overnight trip to the Gulf states last week. It took nearly two months for him to speak directly with BP executives. It wasn’t until last week that he acted like he was engaged, but even then he only spent half the week on the spill. The other half he spent on the golf course and at a ball game.

Obama’s response has been called “lackadaisical” by RNC Chairman Michael Steele who called on Obama to rein in his leisurely lifestyle until the leaking oil well is plugged.

Since the oil well blew on April 28, Obama has taken two vacations, played seven rounds of golf, entertained the pop star Bono and been entertained by Paul McCartney. He has also attended the theater several times, a Major League basball game, political fundraisers and has hosted several White House parties and barbeques.

Yet Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel ripped BP CEO Tony Hayward this weekend for taking one day off for a yacht race in Britain.

Team Obama is putting the word out to the media they think they’ve done enough on the oil spill with last week’s half-week effort and the resulting $20 billion shakedown of BP and are ready to move on. The Atlantic’s White House stenographer Marc Ambinder previewed the Obama administration’s attitude last night:

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?

 

By THOMAS SOWELL
Posted 06:13 PM ET

 

When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.

Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler’s rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.

“Useful idiots” was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.

Put differently, a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive.

In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.

The president’s poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies.

Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.

And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Many among the public and in the media may think that the issue is simply whether BP’s oil spill has damaged many people, who ought to be compensated.

But our government is supposed to be “a government of laws and not of men.”

If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion — or $50 billion or $100 billion — then so be it.

But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without “due process of law.”

Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.

If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don’t believe in constitutional government.

And, without constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a “crisis” — which, as the president’s chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to “go to waste” as an opportunity to expand the government’s power.

That power will of course not be confined to BP or to the particular period of crisis that gave rise to the use of that power, much less to the particular issues.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt arbitrarily took the United States off the gold standard, he cited a law passed during the First World War to prevent trading with the country’s wartime enemies. But there was no war when FDR ended the gold standard’s restrictions on the printing of money.

At about the same time, during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law “for the relief of the German people.”

That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people — indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others.

If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.

The man appointed by President Obama to dispense BP’s money as the administration sees fit, to whomever it sees fit, is only the latest in a long line of presidentially appointed “czars” controlling different parts of the economy, without even having to be confirmed by the Senate, as Cabinet members are.

Those who cannot see beyond the immediate events to the issues of arbitrary power — vs. the rule of law and the preservation of freedom — are the “useful idiots” of our time. But useful to whom?