New Obama Offshore Oil Plan Sacrifices Polar Bear Habitat

Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 23, 2010

Contact: Brendan Cummings, (760) 366-2232 x 304

New Obama Offshore Oil Plan Sacrifices Polar Bear Habitat

WASHINGTON— Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today issued a revised offshore oil plan that will allow drilling in the heart of polar bear habitat in Alaska. Salazar’s announcement, which came in response to a previous court ruling, finalized a revised 2007-2012 nationwide offshore oil leasing plan. The previous plan, issued under the Bush administration, had been overturned by a federal appeals court for failing to properly analyze impacts of drilling off the Arctic coast of Alaska. Salazar’s new plan reaffirms a 2008 lease sale in polar bear critical habitat in the Chukchi Sea.

“Once again Secretary Salazar has placed political expediency over sound science and the rule of law, and polar bears and other arctic species will suffer for it,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Oil development in the Chukchi Sea, home to America’s polar bears, remains a dangerous proposition because no technologies exist to clean up oil spills in icy waters. Today’s plan upholds the sale of leases in the Chukchi.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other organizations filed a court challenge to the 2007-2012 offshore oil leasing plan issued by the Bush administration. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia set aside that plan for failing to adequately assess the environmental impacts of opening up areas off Alaska to drilling. Today’s announcement comes in response to that ruling. A court in Alaska also separately ruled this year that the environmental analysis underlying the lease sale in the Chukchi Sea was unlawful.

“Secretary Salazar has apparently learned nothing from either the Gulf spill or the courts. No matter how many times the courts overturn his decisions to open the Arctic to oil, he comes back with the exact same decision,” said Cummings. “This year in the Gulf of Mexico we saw the damage that a massive oil spill can cause. Given the lack of clean-up technology for an oil spill in the Arctic, Salazar’s decision to move forward with the Chukchi leases demonstrates that all the promised reforms following the Gulf spill ultimately mean nothing for the Arctic.”

In a separate but related development, also in response to a court order, Salazar announced on Wednesday he would uphold a Bush-era decision to list polar bears as merely “threatened,” rather than the more protective status of “endangered.” Such a move allows Salazar to exempt greenhouse gas polluters nationwide, as well as oil companies operating in polar bear habitat, from some of the Endangered Species Act’s most protective provisions.

“This week Secretary Salazar has delivered a double-barreled blast to the future of the polar bear,” said Cummings. “At this rate Secretary Salazar will be writing the polar bear’s obituary rather than its recovery plan.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 315,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.



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Bradley Manning’s message on Christmas Eve: ‘I greatly appreciate everyone’s support’

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, December 24th, 2010 — 2:44 pm

Pvt. Bradley Manning, the lone soldier who stands accused of stealing millions of pages of secret US government documents and handing them over to secrets outlet WikiLeaks, wants his supporters to know that they’ve meant a lot to him.

“I greatly appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes during this time,” he said in a Christmas Eve statement released by his lawyer.

“I’m also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense,” Manning continued. “I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions.

“Specifically, I am thinking of those that I deployed with and have not seen for the last seven months, and of the staff here at the Quantico Confinement Facility who will be spending their Christmas without their family.”

In a recent conversation with Firedoglake’s David House, Manning  claimed that military officials have kept him in solitary confinement for the last seven months. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald noted that the conditions in which Manning is held “constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.”

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Lawmakers seek cash during key votes

Silly me..I thought bribery was illegal.

Once upon a time I actually believed that those who governed this nation cared about the American people and the good of their country instead of lining their own pockets.

But those freaky fundies of the right with their Ayn Rand ethics of greed is good and their prosperity gospels that preach ethics are socialistic and apply only to the poor.

That the elite is chosen by Fascist Jesus in a sort of divine right of kings manner.

We need to rid ourselves of both the criminals on Wall Street and their allies in the government.

We need government by and for the people not for the corporations.

From the conservative Washington Post:

Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, December 25, 2010; 9:27 PM

Numerous times this year, members of Congress have held fundraisers and collected big checks while they are taking critical steps to write new laws, despite warnings that such actions could create ethics problems. The campaign donations often came from contributors with major stakes riding on the lawmakers’ actions.

For three weeks in June, for instance, the members of a joint House and Senate committee worked to draft final rules for regulating the financial industry in the wake of its 2008 meltdown. During that time, the 35 members of the drafting committee collected $440,000 in donations from that same industry, which was then lobbying heavily for looser rules.

Earlier this month, the chairman of the Senate committee overseeing tax policy, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), gave himself a birthday-party fundraiser – on the same day that the chamber took its first vote on an $858 billion tax package that would provide breaks to wealthy citizens and business interests.

Members of Congress contacted for this article declined to answer questions about ethics rules and the possible appearance of impropriety. Instead, they stressed that their votes can’t be bought.

“Money has no influence on how Senator Baucus makes his decisions,” Baucus spokeswoman Kate Downen said. “The only factor that determines Senator Baucus’s votes is whether a policy is right for Montana and right for our country.”

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Related quote:  “I am not a crook!”  Richard M. Nixon

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Eating Chinese Food on Christmas

The last three years Tina and I have gone for Chinese Food on Christmas.  Here in Dallas being from New York is almost the same thing as being Jewish, especially if you are more red than liberal.

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On Hawaii vacation, Obama reads up on Reagan

Tired of Obama yet?

Wish we had a real Democrat as president instead of a neo-liberal/neo-conservative?

I am tired of this Reagan admirer, who put the Masters Of The Universe who brought us this Free Market Ayn Rand hell of a deregulated financial market place into his cabinet.  I’m sick of this president who continues supporting the Bush/Reagan/Clinton police state.

Why am I not surprised he is adoringly reading a biography of a man he admires?  “President Reagan: The Role Of A Lifetime

I have a couple of suggestions for him if he is so damned interested in Reagan:  Tear Down This Myth: The Right-Wing Distortion of the Reagan Legacy and  The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, December 25th, 2010 — 5:58 am

HONOLULU — US President Barack Obama is using his Christmas holiday in Hawaii to read up on former president Ronald Reagan, an icon for the resurgent Republicans he will face next year.

The president “is reading a biography right now on Ronald Reagan by Lou Cannon,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs wrote Friday on the micro-blogging website Twitter.

Obama has taken an interest in the former president ahead of his return to a more deeply divided Washington next month, when the Republican opposition will assume control of the House of Representatives.

Reagan, who occupied the White House from 1981 to 1989, is revered by Republicans for his hard line towards the Soviet Union and his conservative fiscal reforms, which included cutting taxes and reforming the tax code.

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Barack Obama during the entire 2008 campaign:

“I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamenta­lly different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountabi­lity in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

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Godless Xmas

Regulators Scramble Ahead of WikiLeaks Financial Disclosures

From The Huffington Post:

Phil Trupp
Journalist and author of Ruthless


Not since former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson pulled off a $700 billion raid of taxpayer dollars to shore up Wall Street have Washington regulators scurried so quickly to ferret out evidence of collusion between the feds and the nation’s major banks and other financial services firms.

The last minute push by regulators comes ahead of a threatened WikiLeaks data dump.

According to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the soon-to-be-released materials will focus on a major American bank — possibly Bank of America. Mr. Assange claims to have enough incriminating evidence to force the resignation of top bank executives.

But sources in Washington say they expect there will be very little surprising in the WikiLeaks disclosures, which were apparently taken from a computer hard drive.

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The rich are much richer than you and me: The Growing Gap Between Rich and Middle Class

From CNN Money:

By Chris Isidore, senior writer

December 23, 2010: 3:39 PM ET

NEW YORK ( — The gap between the rich and the middle class is larger than it has ever been due to the bursting of the housing bubble.

The richest 1% of U.S. households had a net worth 225 times greater than that of the average American household in 2009, according to analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. That’s up from the previous record of 190 times greater, which was set in 2004.

The widening gap came even as wealthy households’ average net worth tumbled 27% — to about $14 million — between 2007 to 2009. That’s the first time that they suffered a decline since the three-year period of 1992 to 1995.

Meanwhile, the average family’s net worth plunged 41% — to just $62,200 — from 2007 to 2009, according to EPI’s calculations.

“The typical person lost more because a bigger percentage of their wealth in 2007 had been the value of their home,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with EPI.

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Merry Xmas