Why Has Barack Obama Refused To Accept International Help To Clean Up The Oil Spill In The Gulf Of Mexico?

As the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico enters a third month, many are now asking how in the world Barack Obama can keep refusing offers from other countries to help clean up the oil spill.  The truth is that cleaning up oil spills is not rocket science.  There have been massive oil spills in other areas of the world before and there are some folks that have some real expertise when it comes to cleaning them up.  But Barack Obama and BP have been stumbling around as if they are trying to reinvent the wheel.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?  When it comes to Obama’s approach to this crisis, there are really two options.  Either this is one of the most extreme examples of presidential incompetence in modern American history, or Barack Obama is using this crisis for a particular purpose (such as advancing a particular agenda).  In either event, Obama’s actions during this crisis have been completely and totally unconscionable.

The truth is that 13 different countries have offered to help clean up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Barack Obama turned all 13 of them down.

So let’s get this straight….

We are dealing with the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history by far, and yet we completely refuse any assistance?

What kind of insanity is that?

In fact, it is being reported that just three days after the Deepwater Horizon sank to the floor of the Gulf of Mexico the Dutch government contacted Barack Obama and offered to loan BP ships outfitted with special oil-skimming booms.  In addition, the Dutch had a plan to quickly build sand barriers to protect the vulnerable marshlands along the Louisiana coast.

Needless to say, those plans were not implemented.

According to one Dutch newspaper, the European oil companies that offered to help said that they could have completely cleaned all of the oil from the Gulf of Mexico in just four months.

But now Obama is telling us that the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico could last for years.

So what would keep Barack Obama from accepting international offers of help?

Well, Obama is using something called “the Jones Act” as an excuse.

Howard Portnoy recently described what is going on this way….

In order to accept the offers, which have come from Belgian, Dutch, and Norwegian firms that claim to possess some of the world’s most advanced oil skimming ships, Obama would need to waive the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-261). Also known as the Jones Act, the law requires essentially that all commercial acts conducted in U.S.-controlled waters be performed by “U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.”

So why not simply waive the act? Other presidents have under similar circumstances. George W. Bush waived the Jones Act following Hurricane Katrina, allowing foreign ships into Gulf waters to aid in the relief effort.

The truth is that the Jones Act is not a barrier to receiving assistance at all and Barack Obama knows this.

There would be absolutely no problem with waiving the Jones Act in these circumstances.

So Barack Obama has no excuse.

Either he is completely and totally incompetent or he has been trying to make this crisis worse than it should be.

You see, this is not the first catastrophic oil spill in the history of the world.  There have been others, and we have learned quite a bit about cleaning up oil from those events.  Anthony G. Martin recently described what happened during one particularly brutal oil spill in 1993 and 1994….

In 1993 and ’94 the Saudis faced an oil spill of historic proportions in the Arabian Gulf as four leaking tankers and two oil gushers threatened to spur a catastrophic event that was 65 times worse than the Exxon-Valdez spill. 

An American engineer, Nick Pozzi, was part of a task force charged with developing a solution to the looming disaster.

Pozzi had used various methods to clean up oil spills prior to this event.  However, the time was short, and an effective solution was needed post-haste.

That’s when Pozzi decided that the huge, empty oil tankers, sitting in the dock, could be used to simply vacuum up the oil right off of the top of the water.

The result was that 85% of the oil was recovered.

In a recent interview with Esquire, Pozzi explained that cleaning up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico should not be that complicated….

Keep in mind that what supertankers typically do is they sit in the middle of the ocean waiting for all the traders to come up with the right price. When they feel that the price is right, the tankers that are full, they take off, and they can be anywhere in the world in a few days. Right now there are probably 25 supertankers, waiting for orders, full of oil. So all they got to do is come to Texas, in the Gulf, unload the oil, and then turn around and suck up all this other stuff and pump it onto shore into on-shore storage. It’s not rocket science. It’s so simple.

So why won’t Barack Obama and BP implement the “supertanker method”?

When asked about it they just brush it off.

Are they that incompetent?

Or is something else going on?

If this crisis had been handled properly, oil would not currently be blanketing our pristine Gulf coast beaches.

An increasing number of Gulf coast residents have become so frustrated that they have decided to take it upon themselves to stop the oil that is headed towards their homes and businesses.

But BP and the Obama administration have been running around trying to keep anyone else other than themselves from doing anything about this oil spill.  In fact, Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of more than 17,000 National Guard members along the Gulf coast to be used “as needed” by state governors, and BP is being allowed to use private security contractors to keep the American people away from the oil cleanup sites.

If they used as much energy cleaning up the oil as they are in keeping the American people away from the spill they might actually be accomplishing something.

Meanwhile, CBS News is reporting that there could be as much as 1 billion barrels of oil under the damaged BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico and that it could keep flowing for more than a decade.

Apparently BP made one of the biggest oil discoveries in history, but the problem is that oil is now coming out of there at such high pressure that we simply do not have the technology to control it.

In addition, experts have discovered a massive gas bubble which is estimated to be 15 to 20 miles across and “tens of feet high” under the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

So what in the world is going to happen if that thing blows?

Also, there are reports of fissures and cracks appearing on the ocean floor around the damaged wellhead.

If this thing goes from a “leak” to an “eruption” it could be a catastrophe beyond anything any of us could even imagine.

So let’s hope that nothing like that happens.

But there is another very serious threat that we need to keep an eye on.

Some environmentalists are now warning that North America could be facing years of toxic rain because of the highly toxic chemical dispersants that BP is using to control the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.  Because it is so poisonous, the UK’s Marine Management Organization has completely banned Corexit 9500, so if there was a major oil spill in the UK’s North Sea, BP would not be able to use it.  So BP really needs to start explaining why they are dumping so much of it into the Gulf of Mexico – especially since so much of it could end up raining down on us.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are busy playing golf and BP chief executive Tony Hayward has been busy watching his yacht race.

Well, considering the fact that Tony Hayward is set for a massive 10.8 million pound ($16 million) payout if he chooses to step down, perhaps he is not too concerned about exactly how things turn out.

As for Barack Obama, his main concern in all this seems to be advancing his climate agenda.  During a recent interview, Obama directly compared the current crisis in the Gulf to 9/11, and indicated that he believed that it would fundamentally change the way that we all look at energy issues from now on.  But the truth is that cleaning up the oil in the Gulf has nothing to do with the “cap and trade” carbon tax scheme that Obama is trying to foist on all of us.

What Obama needs to do is to accept all the help that is being offered, get everybody working together on cleaning up this mess, and find a way to stop all that oil from coming out of the ground. 

Until he makes some progress on those things, the American people are not likely to want to hear the first thing about all of the new taxes, rules and regulations that he is so eager to impose on all of us.

The Gulf of Mexico is literally being destroyed, and already this disaster has been so horrific that the effects will be felt for decades.  If Barack Obama cares one ounce about the American people he needs to start doing his job instead of playing politics with this crisis.

Who Died And Made BP King Of The Gulf Of Mexico?

There is one question that I would really like an answer to.  Who died and made BP king of the Gulf of Mexico?  In recent weeks, BP has almost seemed more interested in keeping the American people away from the oil spill than in actually cleaning it up.  Journalists are being pushed around and denied access, disaster workers are being intimidated and abused and now BP has even go so far as to hire an army of private mercenaries to enforce their will along the Gulf coast.  Are we suddenly living in occupied Iraq?  How in the world did a foreign oil company get the right to start pointing guns at the American people?  The last time I checked, BP did not own the Gulf of Mexico and did not have the right to tell the American people where they can and cannot go.  The truth is that BP could have avoided all of this by running an open, honest and transparent operation from the start.  They could have welcomed help from all sources, they could have tried to be open with the media, and they could have tried to be fair with the volunteers and rescue workers.  But instead BP has been conducting this whole thing as if we are living in a totalitarian dictatorship and they are the dictators.

Over the last several weeks, members of the mainstream media attempting to cover the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been yelled at, harassed, kicked off public beaches and threatened with arrest.  The Obama administration keeps promising “to improve media access”, but so far their promises haven’t seemed to make much difference.  In fact, a recent AP report detailed several recent highly disturbing incidents of journalist intimidation….   

  • On June 5, sheriff’s deputies in Grand Isle threatened an AP photographer with arrest for criminal trespassing after he spoke to BP employees and took pictures of cleanup workers on a public beach.
  • On June 6, an AP reporter was in a boat near an island in Barataria Bay when a man in another boat identifying himself as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee ordered the reporter to leave the area. When the reporter asked to see identification, the man refused, saying “My name doesn’t matter, you need to go.”
  • According to a June 10 CNN video, one of the network’s news crews was told by a bird rescue worker that he signed a contract with BP stating that he would not talk to the media. The crew was also turned away by BP contractors working at a bird triage area — despite having permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enter the facility.
  • On June 11 and 12, private security guards patrolling in the Grand Isle area attempted repeatedly to prevent a crew from New Orleans television station WDSU from walking on a public beach and speaking with cleanup workers.
  • But it is not just the media that are being pushed around.  The Louisiana Environmental Action Network is reporting that BP is actually threatening to fire fishermen hired to help with the oil spill cleanup for using respirators and other safety equipment that wasn’t provided by the company.

    Seriously.

    The workers say that they are only using their own safety equipment because BP has not provided what they need.  It is a fact that a large number of rescue workers have already gotten sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, so it certainly makes sense that those working to clean up the oil would want to do whatever they can to stay safe.

    But no, BP has to be a bunch of jerks about the whole thing.

    Even the EPA says that workers need to be careful.  Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s office of solid waste and emergency response, made the following statement during an interview on Thursday….   

    “There’s no way you can be working in that toxic soup without getting exposures.”

    It’s not just the oil that is the problem.  The chemical dispersants that BP is using in the Gulf are even more toxic than the oil.  In fact, because it is so extremely toxic, the UK’s Marine Management Organization has completely banned Corexit 9500, so if there was a major oil spill in the North Sea, BP would not be able to use it

    But the Obama administration has allowed BP to dump over a million gallons of Corexit 9500, Corexit 9527 and other highly toxic dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico.

    Apparently the truth is that BP would rather disperse the oil so that the spill doesn’t look so bad even if it means creating an ecological disaster of nightmarish proportions.

    You see, these days BP does what it wants, and anyone who doesn’t like it gets pushed out of the way. 

    Monique Harden, the co-director and attorney at the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, is so outraged over BP’s behavior that she recently made the following statement….

    “BP should not be running the Gulf region like a prison warden, and we’ve got to stop that.”

    But rather than becoming more open and taking responsibility for their actions, BP has now hired private security contractors to keep the American people away from the oil cleanup sites.

    In other words, BP has brought in a horde of private mercenaries (just like the U.S. uses in Iraq and Afghanistan) to muscle the American people around.

    Yeah, we are really going to appreciate that.

    Doesn’t BP understand that the American people do not respond well to this kind of nonsense?

    In fact, it is being alleged that BP has actually attempted to manipulate the search results on sites like Google and Yahoo.

    They seem absolutely obsessed with controlling what we see and think.

    Perhaps what BP should be obsessed with is stopping the oil from shooting out of the ground.

    Meanwhile, BP execs are busy testifying in front of Congress and making half-hearted apologies. 

    Carl-Henric Svanberg, the BP chairman, has even apologized for referring to those affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as “small people”.

    Isn’t that nice of him?

    While all of this is going on, BP is already trying to ensure that things go their way legally.  Back in May, BP requested that one particular judge be assigned to preside over all lawsuits related to the spill.  Well, it turns out that this particular judge gets tens of thousands of dollars a year in oil royalties and is paid travel expenses to attend oil industry conferences.

    Isn’t that convenient?

    But that is how the game is played these days.

    Meanwhile, the “oil volcano” on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico continues to pump out a nightmarish amount of oil every single day.  BP is even admitting that oil is escaping from the leak at such high pressure that if they try to cap it the entire well may blow.

    So this crisis may keep getting worse for months.

    By the time this is over, will anything in the Gulf be left alive?

    Even now, hordes of dolphins, fish, sharks, crabs, rays and other sea creatures find themselves trapped between the rapidly advancing oil and the shore.  Unprecedented numbers are showing up just off the Gulf coast in an attempt to escape certain death, but once the oil reaches shore there will be nowhere else for them to go.  The tragedy will be unspeakable.

    Things did not have to turn out this way.  BP and the Obama administration could have done things much differently.  But they didn’t. 

    Now we all have to live with the results.

    16 Burning Questions About The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill That We Deserve Some Answers To

    The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a national nightmare that seems to have no ending.  Every day new details come out that are even more shocking than what we learned the day before.  The truth is that life will never be the same in the Gulf of Mexico or for those who live along the Gulf coast.  Now Barack Obama has made a big Oval Office speech and has tried to convince all of us that he is in charge of the crisis.  Well, perhaps if he had tried to take decisive action a month ago the American people may have rallied around him.  But right now the BP/government response to this disaster remains completely and totally chaotic.  Nobody seems to be able to stop the leak, and BP has made the environmental nightmare far worse by dumping over a million gallons of highly toxic dispersants into the Gulf.  U.S. government officials are running around holding press conferences and waiting for BP to do something.  Meanwhile oil is pouring ashore and toxic gases are being detected at very alarming levels.  The biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history is also quickly becoming one of the biggest economic disasters and potentially one of the biggest public health disasters.   

    The truth is that the American people deserve some answers about what in the world is going on down there in the Gulf.  BP does not own the Gulf of Mexico and they have no right to keep the American people from seeing what is happening.  There are some very serious health and environmental questions that have been raised in the media recently, but both BP and the U.S. government are not giving us any answers. 

    But we need some answers.  People are getting sick.  Crops are dying.  Wildlife is being devastated.  Birds are flocking north by the thousands.

    But BP and the U.S. government continue to treat us as though we are on a “need to know” basis and that what we “need to know” is not much.

    Actually, much of what they have decided to tell us throughout this crisis has turned out to be lies anyway.

    The truth is that it is about darn time that someone started telling it to us straight.  

    The following are 16 questions about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that we really need some answers to….

    #1) Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of more than 17,000 National Guard members along the Gulf coast to be used “as needed” by state governors.  So what are all of these National Guard troops going to be doing exactly?  Are the troops going to be used to stop the oil or to control the public?

    #2) Barack Obama has also announced the creation of a “Gulf recovery czar” who will be in charge of overseeing the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico region following the oil spill.  So is appointing a “czar” Obama’s idea of taking charge of a situation?

    #3) Because it is so incredibly toxic, the UK’s Marine Management Organization has completely banned Corexit 9500, so if there was a major oil spill in the UK’s North Sea, BP would not be able to use it.  So why is BP being allowed to use Corexit 9500 in the Gulf of Mexico?

    #4) It is being reported that 2.61 parts per million of Corexit 9500 (mixed with oil at a ratio of 1:1o) is lethal to 50% of fish exposed to it within 96 hours.  That means that 1 gallon of Corexit 9500/oil mixture is capable of rendering 383,141 gallons of water highly toxic to fish.  So why was BP allowed to dump 1,021,000 gallons of Corexit 9500 and Corexit 9527 into the Gulf of Mexico, and why aren’t they being stopped from dumping another 805,000 gallons of these dispersants that they have on order into the Gulf?

    #5) If these dispersants are so incredibly toxic to fish, what are they going to do to crops?  What are they going to do to people?

    #6) If the smell of the oil on some Gulf beaches is already so strong that it burns your nostrils, then what in the world is this oil doing to to wildlife that encounter it?

    #7) Is it a bad sign that birds from the Gulf region are flocking north by the thousands?

    #8) Why is BP being allowed to use private security contractors to keep the American people away from the oil cleanup sites?

    #9) Why is BP openly attempting to manipulate the search results on sites like Google and Yahoo? 

    #10) Why has the FAA shut down the airspace above the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?  What don’t they want the American people to see?

    #11) Senator Bill Nelson of Florida says that there are reports that there are additional ruptures in the sea floor from which oil is leaking.  If there are quite a few of these additional ruptures, then how in the world does BP expect to completely stop this oil leak?

    #12) Why are scientists finding concentrations of methane at up to 10,000 times normal background levels in Gulf waters?

    #13) At some testing stations in the Gulf of Mexico, levels of benzene have been detected at over 3000 parts per billion, and levels of hydrogen sulfide have been detected as high as 1192 parts per billion.  Considering that these levels would be highly toxic to humans, why hasn’t the general public been warned?   

    #14) Why are so many Gulf oil spill disaster workers showing up at local hospitals complaining of a “mysterious illness”?

    #15) If “70% or 80%” of the protective booms are doing absolutely nothing at all to stop the oil, then what is going to stop the millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf from eventually reaching shore?

    #16) It is being reported that the deepsea oil plumes are creating huge “dead zones” where all creatures are dying as they are deprived of oxygen.  If this oil spill continues to grow could the vast majority of the Gulf of Mexico become one gigantic “dead zone”?

    ***UPDATE***

    A reader named Stacy has posted a very alarming comment regarding what is happening in her area down in Florida that we wanted to share with everyone….

    We live in the navarre, florida area and in the past week almost every family we know has had vomiting and diarreha. This could just be anecdotal – maybe we just have a stomach bug circulating, but it is strange. We had a huge storm the week before it happened that blew in from the gulf so who knows.

    Also, the city of destin, florida has taken it upon themselves to close the destin pass with their own purchased boom and barges. This is an elite destination and they are not waiting around for bp and their hired prison workers to clean the beaches. Apparently, the coast guard was at the meeting and told the locals that they will face criminal prosecution, but they don’t care. They are protecting their million dollar properties.

    The Death Of Las Vegas

    There are quite a few U.S. cities that are complete and utter economic disaster zones in 2010 (Detroit for example), but there is something about the demise of Las Vegas that is absolutely stunning.  In recent decades, Las Vegas has become a symbol for the over-the-top affluence and decadence of America.  But now it is a microcosm of the economic nightmare that has gripped the entire nation.  When the subprime mortgage crisis stuck, no major U.S. city was more devastated than Las Vegas.  When the recession went from bad to worse, Americans decided that they really didn’t need to gamble so much and casino revenues plummeted.  Suddenly unemployment started to increase dramatically in Vegas and even today it continues to soar.  Like so many other cities that are highly dependent on tourism and entertainment, Las Vegas has gone from boom to bust.  Local officials are hoping that the worst will soon be over, but the truth is that the worst is yet to come.  As the U.S. economy continues to unravel, average Americans will be spending what little money they do have to put a roof over their heads and to feed their families.   The truth is that the glory days of Las Vegas are over and they are not coming back.     

    Already, the number of unemployed in Las Vegas is reaching unprecedented levels.  Unemployment rates for the state of Nevada and for the city of Las Vegas both set new records during the month of April.  In Las Vegas the unemployment rate in April was 14.2%.  For the entire state the unemployment rate was 13.7%.

    Of course those are just the “official” numbers.  We all know that the “real” unemployment numbers are much higher.

    For example, the “official” unemployment figure is about 14 percent in the state of Michigan right now.  But if you actually believe that 86 percent of able-bodied workers in the state of Michigan are employed, then perhaps you would be interested in an offer to purchase the Golden Gate Bridge as well.

    Elliott Parker, an economist at the University of Nevada, Reno says that the record-setting unemployment numbers in Nevada are just part of a larger trend…. 

    “Nevada has been losing jobs since March 2008, and we are continuing to do so.”

    But where the state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas have really been hammered is in the housing industry.

    It is estimated that a whopping 65 percent of all homes in the state of Nevada are underwater.

    Let that sink in for a bit.

    65 percent of all home owners with a mortgage in the state of Nevada owe more than their homes are worth.

    Talk about an implosion.

    Nationally, the number of homes that are “underwater” is about 24 percent.  That is an all-time record for the entire nation, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to the nightmare that is unfolding in Nevada and in Las Vegas.

    And the number of foreclosures taking place in Nevada is absolutely breathtaking.

    According to RealtyTrac, Nevada is still ranked number one for foreclosure filings.  In fact, one out of every 79 Nevada homes received a foreclosure filing in the month of May alone. 

    Nevada’s foreclosure rate is now five times the national average.

    By just about any measure, the economy of Nevada is a complete and total disaster.

    A reader recently sent an email describing the economic horror that is unfolding in Las Vegas.  No matter what you may think about the city, the truth is that it is sad to see any great U.S. city fall to pieces like this….

    “Las Vegas is a goner. The homeless population is out of control. The real estate is far worse than I have seen in the media (no surprise there). The towers of condos are ninety five percent vacant with zero activity. The streets and parks are in decline. Local governments are busy making cuts and fighting unions. When I ride the streets they are deserted, a big change from 2006. The major casino companies have all but moved the casinos out of Nevada. Rooms and restaurants have been closing for years, even while they finished the new projects. The entire town is a skeleton staff providing substandard service and decaying properties. I still work for one of the majors which is in bankruptcy. When the next wave hits there is nowhere to cut. It will be a game of dominoes with the Wynn properties the only ones left standing. I see the ninety nine cent breakfast making a comeback. The bullet train a day late and a few billion dollars short.”

    So is there any hope for Las Vegas?

    Well, if the U.S. economy gets back up off of the operating table and roars back to life there is little doubt that millions of Americans would once again soon be flying there to gamble away their discretionary income.

    But the truth is that any “revival” that is going to happen in Vegas is going to be very short-lived.

    The U.S. economy as a whole is caught in a death spiral, and we are about to see a repeat of the housing crash that devastated Las Vegas so badly the first time around.

    No, there really isn’t any way that the death of Las Vegas can be avoided.  Just like the U.S. economy as a whole, it is inevitably doomed.  The numbers don’t lie.

    The grand total of all government, corporate and consumer debt in the United States is now equal to 360 percent of GDP.  That is a far greater level than the U.S. ever approached during the Great Depression.

    The entire U.S. economy is a house of cards built on a gigantic pile of debt and paper money, and it is only a matter of time until it all comes crashing down.

    But of course that isn’t stopping the U.S. government from spending even more money and getting us all into even more debt.

    According to a recent Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

    But as many of you who have experienced this on a personal level know, getting into continually increasing amounts of debt never ends well.

    So do any of you have a tale to tell about the city where you live?  Do you find yourself caught in the middle of an economic nightmare?  Feel free to leave a comment telling us what is happening in your area of the United States….

    ****UPDATE****

    A number of readers have chimed in with some very insightful comments.  A sampling is below….

    Vegas Bob:

    I lived here in Vegas from 1998-2006 and moved back at the beginning of 2010. I worked in Corporate Finance for one of the largest casino operators up until I retired.

    The article is spot on. Compared to its heyday in 2005-2006, Las Vegas today is an economic disaster zone. The condo I sold in 2006 for $172,500 now goes for $48,900 – a 72% haircut.

    It’s not getting any better. Real estate prices are resuming their descent, now that the $8,000 homebuyer tax bribe is gone.

    The so-called economic recovery is for wealthy people only. Everyday people just keep getting the shaft. Obama is just another Republican with a ‘D’ after his name.

    I’m glad I was smart enough to rent a place instead of buying one. I’m getting the hell out of this hellhole when my lease is up at year-end.

    Tiara:

    I am born and raised Vegas. When I say I was raised in Vegas I don’t mean a casino. I mean the middle of the dessert 30 miles north from the strip with the lizards and tumbleweeds. Vegas and I have a love hate relationship. I have seen this the growth in this town blow up in my face and now it is imploding just like an old worn out casino. It has been a crazy ride but due to the economy I will most likely be leaving Las Vegas soon. Growing up in this town has been interesting and leaving it will be bittersweet.

    Craig:

    I lived in vegas in 2006 and have been back to visit many times. I was there recently for the first time after the economy imploded in late 2008—That town is a shell of it’s former self.

    On any given night there are half the people on the strip that there used to be. The service even in the 5-star hotels has declined. You can see the lack of morale, sucked from the faces of the wokrers.

    I loved this town in its hay day. Right now, it’s pretty sad.

    Dolly:

    Vegas was, and is, easy to understand. I’m in the musical equipment business– audio– and we go to Trade Shows.

    These are held all over the world, but let’s contrast just two places, Los Angeles and Vegas:

    If you go to Los Angeles, you will visit with the worlds best engineering talent, and a solidly-grounded people that are there to PRODUCE something OF VALUE. You have small manufacturers, Farm and Ranch people, Oil people, the film industry and plenty of unspoiled, honest, clean-living young people who work hard, and then play hard. Many are Surfers, etc., and are a breath of Fresh Air.

    In short, a business convention or trade show in this city is a TREAT.

    Now, let’s look at Las Vegas. Everything that’s big there is built around money manipulation and power. No one gives a damn about anybody else. Got a brilliant idea? One that Los Angelinos would want to encourage you to develop and succeed at? NOT in Vegas! Any Casino in town handles more money than that in a microsecond. Besides– who are YOU? YOU don’t matter. Vegas gets all the big shows and all the big stuff– so YOU DON’T COUNT.

    Want to hold a convention in a DECENT CITY– say L.A., or Denver? SORRY– Vegas will move right in– bribe the show principals and it WILL be held in Vegas. Look at what happened to the National Finals Rodeo– Oklahoma City was GREAT, but VEGAS has STOLEN it.

    Vegas deserves the worst that can happen to it– GOOD RIDDANCE!

    Bob:

    LV was built by losers. I’ve lived in & near LV since ‘89, watched it grow cancerously, and now the tumor is shrinking… good riddance indeed to a grand delusion. This city is not electrified by the dam — it is fed with coal-generated power from Moapa. Fake Lake Mead is dying too ( and the city is fed by one old pipeline that can break down at any time … There is no primary industry here, just gambling and military — everyone here (except me, of course ) is living the Big Lie. The place is a death trap… stay away!

    BD:

    I recently went back to visit my old neighborhood (moved out of vegas and sold my house in summer of ‘08) and talked with a few of my neighbors. Apparently its so bad they dont even park their cars on the streets anymore because “these damn people siphon gas out of your gas tank”.  No lie.  And this is a nice gated neighborhood in Henderson….

    More Than 1 In 5 American Children Are Now Living Below The Poverty Line

    Perhaps the greatest victims of the economic nightmare that is unfolding right in front of our eyes are our children.  The overall economic numbers are really bad, but when you examine the impact that this economy is having on children things get really horrifying.  Today, 1 in 5 American children live in poverty and 1 in 4 American children are on food stamps.  Experts tell us that about 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point before they reach the age of 18.  Up to half a million American children are homeless even as you read this.  And yet we continue to insist that we are the wealthiest nation in the world.  Well, if we are so wealthy, then why are so many millions of our children suffering so desperately? 

    Part of the reason is because an increasing number of parents can’t find work.  According to a U.S. Labor Department report, the average duration of unemployment in the United States hit 34.4 weeks in May, which was a big increase from 33 weeks during April.  To give you some perspective how incredibly bad that is, the average duration of unemployment was only 16.5 weeks in December 2007.

    The truth is that when U.S. workers lose their jobs they are finding it exceedingly difficult to find new ones.

    In fact, 45.9% of those currently unemployed in America have been out of work longer than six months.  That is the highest percentage since the Labor Department began keeping track of this statistic back in 1948.

    So is there much hope that things will turn around soon?

    No, not really.

    In fact, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that unemployment is likely to remain “high for a while”.

    That means a lot of children are going to continue to suffer.

    According to one shocking new study, 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010. 

    That means that more than 1 in 5 American children are now living in poverty.

    That is a national disgrace.

    Not only that, but the same report estimates that up to 500,000 children may currently be homeless in the United States.

    Perhaps we should all think about that while we are enjoying our nice dinners tonight.

    But most of us don’t think that it is our job to do anything about it.  Most of us have been trained that it is the job of the government to fix people’s problems.

    We have created a monolithic welfare state and record numbers of Americans are now dependent on it.

    In fact, for the first time ever, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps.

    40.2 million Americans received food stamps in March, which was a whopping 21 percent increase from a year earlier.

    But it is bad enough that 1 out of every 8 Americans is on food stamps.  What is far more tragic is that one out of every four U.S. children is now on food stamps.  In fact, as mentioned previously, experts tell us that half of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point before they turn 18.

    So is anyone still not convinced that the U.S. economic system is broken?

    So who is doing well these days?

    The wealthy.

    In 2009, the number of millionaires in the United States rose 16 percent to 7.8 million.

    Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

    The rich are getting richer as the poor are getting poorer.  According to the United Nations, the United States has the highest level of income inequality of all of the highly industrialized nations.

    The poor are left with an increasingly smaller slice of the pie to divide among themselves.  In fact, those in the bottom 40 percent now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

    But the truth is that as the U.S. economy continues to fall apart, we are all going to experience some very difficult times.

    In particular, when the U.S. economy finally completely implodes, it is those who are almost entirely dependent on the “system” that will suffer the most pain.  The vast majority of Americans live month to month, don’t grow any of their own food and could only last a couple of weeks on the food that they currently have in their homes.  So what will happen to those people when the system fails?

    And in case you think that this kind of talk is fearmongering, perhaps you should start listening to what some of the top financial analysts around the world are saying. 

    For example, Anthony Fry, the senior managing director at Evercore Partners, recently told CNBC that things are getting so bad out there that he is “considering investing in barbed wire and guns”.

    Yes, things are really getting that bad.

    Years ago the old timers would warn us that someday we would see Americans standing in bread lines.

    Well, today food stamps are the new bread lines, and 40 million Americans a month find themselves dependent on the U.S. government for the food that they need to survive.

    If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine perhaps you should check your pulse.

    When a government has to feed 40 million people a month that means that the system is badly broken.

    How many tens of millions of people have to be on food stamps before we can all agree that we are in a complete and total economic nightmare?

    If you know of family or friends that are hurting, please consider helping them out.  The truth is that in the end we are all in this together.  The government is not going to save us.  The collapsing U.S. economy is not going to save us.  But if we all roll up our sleeves and work together perhaps we can make it through the difficult years that are coming.

    8 Reasons Why The Pain From The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Is Going To Be Felt For Decades

    As oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico at a staggering rate, many are now starting to realize that the pain from this oil spill will be felt not just for months or years – but for decades.  At least 4.2 million gallons of oil (and some estimates put the total at far higher than that) are already in the Gulf of Mexico causing untold damage to the ecologically fragile Louisiana coast.  The oil has already made contact with the Chandeleur Islands off of the coast of Louisiana, and over the next few days more areas are expected to see oil come ashore.  But just because this disaster is unfolding in slow-motion does not mean that this is not going to be a complete and utter tragedy for the Gulf Coast region.  In fact, many of those living along the Gulf Coast now fear that this oil spill is going to do far more damage to the region than Hurricane Katrina did.  And after Hurricane Katrina and everything else that folks living down there have been through over the past several years, the thought of weathering another massive tragedy is almost too much.

    It certainly doesn’t help that those attempting to stop the leak don’t really seem to know what they are doing.  After failing to contain the oil spill with a giant concrete and steel dome, BP announced on Monday that it will make a second attempt this week using a smaller version of the dome dubbed the “Top Hat”.

    “Top Hat”?

    If BP was as good at stopping oil leaks as they are at coming up with cute little code names for their operations perhaps this crisis would be over by now.

    But the truth is that attempting to do anything at depths of up to one mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico is extremely difficult.

    It kind of makes you wonder what in the world we were doing drilling for oil down there in the first place.

    In any event, BP is not just relying on the “Top Hat” to stop the leak.

    BP is also considering plugging the damaged blowout preventer on the underwater well by pumping debris into it at high pressure.  This technique is known as a “junk shot”.

    Or, in other words, BP would be plugging the leak by shooting a bunch of garbage into it.  One official recently described this method to CBS News this way….

    “They are actually going to take a bunch of debris — some shredded up tires, golf balls and things like that — and under very high pressure shoot it into the preventer itself and see if they can clog it up to stop the leak.”

    But what many media outlets are not admitting is that the “junk shot” procedure is extremely risky.  In fact, some experts are warning that tinkering with the damaged blowout preventer could make the leak much worse.

    But something has got to be done.  Even members of the U.S. Congress are admitting that this oil could end up getting into the Loop Current and going up the east coast of the United States….

    “If this gusher continues for several months, it’s going to cover up the Gulf Coast and it’s going to get down into the Loop Current and that’s going to take it down into the Florida Keys and up the east coast of Florida,” Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson told CNN.

    To get an idea of just how devastating the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is already, check out the aerial footage in the video below.  As you watch this video, just try to imagine how horrific this crisis is going to be if oil continues to gush into the Gulf for weeks or months….

    The truth is that this has the potential to be one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the United States.  The following are 8 of the reasons why the pain from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is going to be felt for decades to come….

    #1) The Fishing, Shrimping And Oyster Industries In The Gulf Are Being Destroyed

    Seafood is a 2.4 billion dollar industry in the state of Louisiana.  In fact, Louisiana produces more than 30 percent of the seafood originating in the continental United States.

    But that is about to dramatically change.  As the waters off Louisiana are being progressively poisoned by all the oil, fishermen and shrimpers are starting to realize that their lives will never be the same.

    In fact, some local shrimpers in Louisiana are already predicting that it will be seven years before they can set to sea again.

    So are they being overly dramatic?

    No, especially when you consider the fact that fishermen in Cordova, Alaska are still struggling 21 years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill devastated the fishing industry in that region.

    #2) The Damage To The Environment And Wildlife In the Gulf Is Going To Be Unprecedented

    Already, environmentalists are warning that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could absolutely devastate the bird population of the region.  You see, nearly 75 percent of all U.S. waterfowl use Louisiana’s three million acres of wetlands to rest or nest.  Once the oil spill gets into those wetlands it is going to be an absolute nightmare for those waterfowl.

    But it isn’t just waterfowl that are at risk.  Literally hundreds of different species that inhabit the coastal areas surrounding the Gulf of Mexico will soon be facing an oily nightmare that they don’t even know is coming.  Entire ecosystems are going to be permanently altered.  Florida Governor Charlie Crist recently put it this way….

    “Florida is currently preparing for what we all know is an environmental disaster of unprecedented proportions for our state and Gulf of Mexico partner states.”

    In fact, Richard Charter of the Defenders of Wildlife says that we are looking at an environmental impact that is going to last for decades….

    “It is so big and expanding so fast that it’s pretty much beyond human response that can be effective. … You’re looking at a long-term poisoning of the area. Ultimately, this will have a multidecade impact.”

    #3) The Natural Beauty Of The Gulf Coast Region Will Never Be The Same

    Anyone who has ever been to the Gulf Coast knows how amazingly beautiful that it can be.  But once it is covered with millions of gallons of oil it will never be the same.

    Brenda Prosser of Mobile, Alabama said that she wept when she saw the workers attempting to try to prevent the oil spill from spreading….

    “I just started crying. I couldn’t quit crying. I’m shaking now.  To know that our beach may be black or brown, or that we can’t get in the water, it’s so sad.”

    And it is a great tragedy.  This didn’t have to happen.  But now the great natural beauty of our coasts is being destroyed and we aren’t going to be able to get it back for a long, long time as Public Service Commissioner Benjamin Stevens recently explained….

    “You get hit by a hurricane and you can rebuild. But when that stuff washes up on the white sands of Pensacola Beach, you can’t just go and get more white sand.”

    Louis Miller of the Mississippi Sierra Club was a bit more dramatic in describing what this oil spill means for the region….

    “This is going to destroy the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast as we know it.”

    #4) Tourism Along The Gulf Coast Is Now Dead

    Needless to say, very few people are going to want to vacation along the Gulf Coast for quite a long time.

    Hotel Owner Dodie Vegas put it this way….

    “It’s just going to kill us. It’s going to destroy us.”

    #5) The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Is Going To Greatly Contribute To The Ongoing Poisoning Of The World’s Water Supply

    Over the past twenty years, the world has witnessed 30 oil spills larger than the Exxon Valdez tragedy.  Both the global food chain and the world’s waters are being progressively poisoned by all of this oil.  In fact, nature can simply not keep up with how fast we are poisoning the water all over the world.  This current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is not going to help things at all.

    #6) This Oil Spill Is Going To Have A Dramatic Chilling Effect On Oil Exploration

    The head of the International Energy Agency is warning that this disaster will slow the exploration and development of offshore oil projects worldwide.  Now that the danger of offshore drilling has become more apparent, approval of new projects is going to be much more difficult around the world, and oil companies are going to be less inclined to invest in such projects.

    #7) Oil Prices Around The Globe Are Going To Rise

    Oil prices have already gone up as a result of this oil spill, and they are likely to stay high for the long-term as demand continues to increase while supplies grow less quickly.  As noted in point #6, this crisis is going to have a chilling effect on oil exploration, and that is going to mean less oil as we move forward.  Less oil and increasing demand means that prices are going to rise, and that is not good news for the U.S. economy.

    #8) The Economy Of The Gulf Coast Region Is Going To Be Devastated

    Two of the major industries in the Gulf region, seafood and tourism, are going to be pretty much wiped out in the short-term.  Many areas along the Gulf, particularly in Louisiana, were already economic disaster areas even before this oil spill.  The truth is that economic conditions down there are simply not strong enough to weather another major tragedy.

    The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is essentially “a slow-motion Katrina” which is going to alter the economy of the Gulf region permanently.

    One anonymous Louisiana resident put it this way….

    “A hurricane is like closing your bank account for a few days, but this here has the capacity to destroy our bank accounts.”

    It is hard to even imagine the despair that those living along the Gulf Coast are feeling right now.  Let’s pray for them and assist them in any way that we can, and let us hope that they get that darn leak stopped as quickly as possible.

    Austin Coins

     

    Will The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Be An Economic Disaster That The Gulf Coast Will Never Recover From?

    As a silent blanket of black goo that is now about the size of the state of Florida slowly but relentlessly drifts towards the Gulf Coast, communities in the region are bracing for an economic catastrophe that is being described as a “slow motion Katrina”.  Still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina after all these years, many who depend on the Gulf of Mexico for their livelihood fear that the massive oil spill heading their way could prove to be an economic disaster from which they will never recover.  Thousands of businesses in the region could go under before all of this is over, and millions could lose their jobs.  As the gigantic mass of black oil kills and maims all the wildlife it encounters, and as it pushes dangerously close to the coastal wetlands, many residents are predicting that two of the most important industries in the region – seafood and tourism – will be completely and totally destroyed.

    Already, the edges of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have grazed the barrier islands off Louisiana’s Chandeleur and Breton sounds.  BP spokeswoman Ayana McIntosh-Lee announced on Monday that the damaged well is releasing 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.  At this point there is no end in sight.

    In fact, the oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico is now larger than the entire state of Florida, and each day it grows larger and more insidious.

    Scientists in the region tell us that the Gulf oil spill could actually get into what’s called the “Loop Current” within a day, eventually carrying oil south along the Florida coast and into the Florida Keys.  In fact, one prominent oceanographer says that he cannot think of any scenario where the oil spill doesn’t eventually reach the Florida Keys.

    And there are indications that things could get a whole lot worse before they get better.

    It is being reported that a confidential government report on the oil spill in the Gulf makes it clear that the Coast Guard now fears that the damaged well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.  One Alabama newspaper has posted excerpts from this alarming report….

    “The following is not public,” reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Emergency Response document dated April 28th that was posted on . “Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought.”

    How bad could it get?

    Well, if the riser pipe blows out, experts tell us that we could see 5 to 10 times as much oil flowing into the Gulf as we are now.

    That would be a nightmare of Biblical proportions.

    Not that we aren’t facing a complete and total nightmare already.

    Both Obama administration and BP are  indicating that it might take up to three months to completely seal off the leaking oil well.

    3 more months of oil flowing into the Gulf?

    How in the world could the Gulf Coast ever recover from that?

    And once the oil spill gets into the wetlands along the coast it will never, ever be able to be totally cleaned up.

    Already, environmentalists are warning that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could absolutely devastate the bird population of the region.

    You see, nearly 75 percent of all U.S. waterfowl use Louisiana’s three million acres of wetlands to rest or nest.  Once the oil spill gets into those wetlands it is over for those waterfowl.

    Not only that, but Louisiana produces more fish and seafood than anywhere in the United States except for Alaska.  The cost of this disaster to the fishing industry in Louisiana alone could top 3 billion dollars, and it is being projected that the tourism industry in Florida could lose even more than that.

    In fact, some local shrimpers in the region are gloomily forecasting that it will be seven years before they can set to sea again.

    Are you starting to get the picture?

    Entire industries are going to be wiped out by this thing.

    In economic terms, this is far bigger than Katrina.

    What we are witnessing is the potential economic death of an entire region.

    To get an idea of just what kind of a nightmare the residents of the Gulf Coast are facing, just read some of the quotes that have been popping up in mainstream media sources over the last couple of days….

    The Telegraph:

    “Worst case scenarios almost never happen,” Professor Robert Thomas, of New Orleans’ Loyola University, was quoted as saying yesterday. “In this case, almost everyone I have known with technical knowledge of oil spills – people who have worked in the industry 30, 40 years – say it is upon us.”

    Louis Miller of the Mississippi Sierra Club:

    This is going to destroy the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast as we know it.

    The Los Angeles Times:

    “A major oil spill would devastate the ecosystem and the economy based on that ecosystem,” said Larry Crowder, professor of marine biology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “It’s a particularly bad time of year because just about everything is nesting or replicating.

    “In the Gulf of Mexico giant blue fin tuna are spawning, and their eggs and larvae float on the surface,” he said. “Seabirds and gulls are nesting. For nesting sea turtles, obviously, oiling the beaches could have a devastating impact.”

    An anonymous Louisiana resident:

    “A hurricane is like closing your bank account for a few days, but this here has the capacity to destroy our bank accounts.”

    Even if you have a heart that is cold as a stone, now is the time to pray for those who live along the Gulf Coast.  The oil spill relentlessly pushing towards the shore threatens to destroy countless numbers of lives.

    Hopefully BP (or someone else) will find a way to keep this disaster from escalating out of control.

    If not, there are going to be a whole lot of people who are going to need our help.

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