Thursday, May 27, 2010

BP needs a break, Obama needs a czar, governors need a friend, and TV news needs a long vacation!


If the news shows were required to use fact checkers before the talking heads went on the air and made their latest wild claim as to why the "other" guys are incompetent, in other words if they were required to tell the truth with no exaggerated distortion, then would they have anything left to say?

Imagine that, all the hosts and reporters for Fox and MSNBC, along with their guests, had to tell the truth? Just the thought would leave them speechless and I happen to think the "Sounds of Silence" would be much better for the American psyche than news shows on TV.

How in the world did America ever survive World War II or the Korean war without those news talk shows? Back then we actually trusted the news media, believed the anchors told the truth, and felt the news people were being as objective as possible.

When you turned on Walter Cronkite, John Cameron Swayze, Huntley and Brinkley, Lowell Thomas or even Edward R. Morrow on radio, you got the news. Not filtered, not slanted toward a social issue or political philosophy, not intended to help a sponsor sell product or propaganda, just the plain old unbiased truth.

Those were the good old days. Way back when integrity meant something. When story content, not speculative spin, really was fair and balanced. But alas, those days are gone.

Just today the MSNBC shows demonstrated yet again, and at MSNBC program content is a collective and shared experience, how the chain reaction lie can work. Once a speculative fact is told on the air regardless of the truth in it, every subsequent show on MSNBC repeats the original story, even if the claim is not true.

When TV programs have to tell lies and undertake character assassination for the purpose of getting ratings, then they should not be allowed to claim special privilege under the Bill of Rights, freedom of the press.

The Morning Joe Show, with their large cast of liberal elitists and one conservative apologist, were raising the roof because the Obama administration was letting BP take the lead on the disaster. Are they really that insane?

When Apollo 13 went haywire on the way to the moon and it looked as if the craft and crew were goners, the White House turned to the people responsible for the mistake in the first place, NASA and their contractors, to solve the unprecedented problems.

BP has already called in the top scientists and engineers in the world, from their competitors and from universities and public and private laboratories.

There are two distinct and separate aspects to this disaster. One is capping the spewing well, which may be done today. This problem is much like Apollo 13, it had never been experienced before because of the depth of the well, one mile below the sea. They have to take care of that problem and the oil industry experts are best qualified to do it.

The second aspect of the problem is the containment and clean up of the oil that has leaked into the Gulf. This program should be managed by the federal government, particularly the Federal Emergency Management Program, good old FEMA.

One can only hope that all the improvements made to FEMA since Katrina by Bush and by Obama the last year and a half will make it capable of managing the task at hand. A massive and highly sensitive environmental clean up and restoration of the wetlands, the marshes, the beaches, the Gulf waters and all the environmental and ecological aspects of the Gulf Coast states is required.

The White House needs a Gulf Environmental and Ecological Czar to oversee this effort. How can that be so hard for an Administration that already has more Czars than banks have vice presidents? For once they should take the unusual step of ignoring the left leaning requirement for new appointments and name someone actually qualified to manage such a disaster response.

There is much that can be done right now to set in place actions to clean up the environment or protect certain critical areas from becoming polluted. The Corp of Engineers, Defense Department, Homeland Security, especially the revived FEMA units, and other federal agencies can be doing things right now to help. Permits can be expedited, emergency waivers granted, agencies forced to break bureaucratic logjams and other actions that a czar could take.

Thousands of volunteers need to be recruited to help save the environment and protect the ecology and Obama could get it done. Emergency approval of government permits for attacking the oil must be granted from a variety of agencies and a Czar should be empowered in the event of a national emergency, to grant the waivers and permits needed to be solving problems.

National disasters are not the time for partisan politics, which makes the political fundraisers being done by Obama this week seem rather shallow and self-serving. Maybe his sudden awakening to the fact the only thing missing from the disaster was leadership, confidence, determination and responsibility, had something to do with the fact he is suddenly going to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast this Friday, and not just for a photo op.

The last bizarre story propagated on MSNBC on the oil spill is that Congress is inept because they cannot raise the liability limit for oil companies from the current $75 million to $10 billion and this is a disasterous situation. What is MSNBC talking about? BP has already said over and over they will pay all legitimate claims for the oil spill. They have already agreed to pay over $350 million for claims and they are just beginning to assess the cost.

If they already committed to and expect to pay out $350 million plus a whole lot more, does anyone really think they expect to pay only $75 million in total damages as specified by law. Of course not, they committed to far more than their legal and pitiful liability. Our inept Congress can fix that law any time, both parties already know it is nonsense and that BP has already agreed to pay the costs. Whatever happens it has nothing to do with the current oil spill. BP said they will pay!

BP needs a break, Obama needs a czar, the state governors need a friend, and television news needs a long vacation, so the nation can pull together and help fix what congress cannot do. No country on earth responds to a disaster like Americans if government and the press would get out of the way and let us work together to get the job done to the best of our ability.


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