Posts tagged President Obama


Why Should Taxpayers Pay for Toxic Cleanups?



WE SHOULDN’T! Let the profiteers who cause the problems pay.



(Photo: Cls 14)
If an oil or coal firm releases toxic chemicals that poisons every living thing it touches (Freedom Industries) and sends thousands of residents to the hospital from lethal exposure, (read Truthout’s Editor William Rivers Pitt’s recent pieces Diary of a Dying Country and The Poisoner’s Reckoning), U.S. government officials not only will pat the oil-coal thugs on the back, they’ll hand over a check worth millions of tax dollars for cleanup fees. And if that isn’t insulting enough for you, the insurance companies will also allegedly pay the dirty energy oligarchs again for the same amount.

No criminal charges, no one goes to jail, and to add insult to injury, they’re actually paid twice for contaminating our drinking water, for putting thousands of Americans in the hospital from toxic poisoning, and for turning communities into real estate nightmares.

West Virginia was in the news recently when this Charleston chemical storage facility accidentally released up to 10,000 gallons of the coal-cleaning chemical MCHM, into the Elk River on January 9, 2014.

West Virginia was in the news recently when this Charleston chemical storage facility accidentally released up to 10,000 gallons of the coal-cleaning chemical MCHM, into the Elk River on January 9, 2014.


The insurance settlements represent a drop in the bucket to oil companies that receive close to a trillion dollars a year combined in profits, but those extra millions that the oil firms pocket can make a significant difference for cash-strapped states. It’s like stealing a tiny piece of candy from a baby when your store is spilling over with tons of sweets.

Why are we, the taxpayers, paying for the oil oligarchs’ hazardous toxic messes in the first place?

By and large, the fossil fuel industry owns the U.S. government. You will never see oil-coal executives arrested for the environmental crimes they’ve committed even when Americans have died from their toxic explosions and disasters. That’s why when President Obama boasts about how he increased drilling, fracking, and the construction of oil pipelines beyond George W. Bush’s wildest dreams, which means more disasters are bound to happen, it makes you question Obama’s motives, especially when we’re heading full speed ahead to mass extinction from carbon emissions produced from oil and coal.

Federal regulations for sale: Why disasters keep happening

When Republicans rage about federal environmental protection regulations, think about how we’re rapidly heading towards mass extinction. Instead of increasing regulations, Republicans want to gut the Endangered Species Act, and they’re determined to blow up the Environmental Protection Agency so that big polluters can continue to rapidly push us beyond our ability to survive.

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As they’re shredding the last of the public safety regulations, think of the perpetual oil, fracking and coal disasters, and you’ll get the picture of what “deregulation” looks like. Americans pay the consequences for a government that’s been paid to look the other way.

Federal oversight of eroding equipment is not taken seriously. The feds rarely inspect the fossil fuel industry’s equipment whether it be fuel storage tanks, drilling rigs, pipelines, and most importantly, aging equipment at refineries.

For all the brouhaha the President and elected officials make about protecting the public, the fact that oil-chemical disasters continue to happen demonstrate that they could care less about protecting the general public’s welfare. The oil industry is notorious for putting workers at risk. Should petroleum engineers, manual laborers, or if an honest federal inspector complains, they’re threatened and told by the industry’s supervisors that they’ll lose their jobs.

A friend that formerly worked for a major oil company spoke about the federal inspection process, and if what he says is generally true, it explains why these disasters continue to happen: “The federal inspectors are easily bribed, boxes are checked off based on the word of the oil management team, and then permits are stamped for approval.” In short, U.S. federal inspections of antiquated equipment for the protection of workers, the public, and the environment are a joke.

You would think that the petroleum executives would want to maintain and upgrade their equipment to prevent potential disasters. But thanks to our oil-soaked elected officials, oil execs don’t have to worry about the disasters they create from gross negligence. We, the taxpayers, pick up the tab—while the petro-thugs get paid twice for the cleanup and make off with the profits. Oh and speaking of taxes, Big Oil hardly pays any U.S. taxes, if at all.

These recurring disasters are far from being “leaks” and “spills”: those are Big Oil euphemisms that are used by the media and politicians in the attempt to deceive the public. Think of BP’s Gulf catastrophe. There is no clear evidence of a recovery. On the contrary, it’s been over three years after the explosion and enormous dead zones are spreading throughout the Gulf. As Truthout reporter Dahr Jamail noted, thousands of Gulf residents have been suffering from the toxic exposure. Nevertheless, President Obama still refers to BP’s worst oil disaster in history as a “leak”.

Who’s to blame?

Every other week you read about another oil catastrophe: trains exploding from the fuel they’re transporting, toxic water contamination, offshore rig explosions, pipeline ruptures and refinery explosions, on and on it goes, there’s no end to it—many of which could have been prevented if federal inspectors were doing their jobs and if the oil firms were diligent about maintaining safety equipment.

These disasters are systemic cases of gross negligence that threaten the public’s health. While our elected officials are being wined and dined by Big Oil criminals, they see the American people as merely “collateral damage” when disasters happen, and then proceed with business as usual.

Who’s to blame? The oily legislators have passed laws with the fossil fuel lobbyists that benefit the oil industry at the expense of our environment: our drinking water, our oceans, our forests, our farms and ranches—all sacrificed in exchange for campaign funding and happy-go-lucky party money. I’ve asked this before and I’ll ask it again: Can we eat and drink oil?

Executive decisions lead to ongoing disasters

If President Obama is sincere about preventing another BP Gulf disaster, as he often claims, then why did he give Shell approval to drill in Alaska’s dangerously turbulent Chukchi Sea—home to more than half the nation’s polar bears? Moreover: Shell is working with Transocean: BP’s collaborator that contributed to the unprecedented 2010 Gulf of Mexico catastrophe due to Transocean’s faulty equipment which was never properly inspected by the federal government.

President Obama is fully aware of Shell’s critical malfunctions of transporting their rig at sea, which was shoved to the shore like a bobbing toy from Alaska’s turbulent winds. To allow Shell to proceed is unconscionable when this near disaster signaled an alarming siren of warning to the White House. There’s a perfect example of why disasters keep happening.

New Laws: the American public v the U.S. federal government

Our legislators are perpetually occupied at passing new laws that benefit the fossil fuel industry at our expense.

Well maybe it’s time for us to pass a few laws against our legislators:

New Laws: The fossil fuel industry from now on must pay for cleaning up their deadly toxic disasters that they create, not the taxpayers and not the insurance companies. If the federal government fails to inspect faulty and aging equipment, then the President, and members of the legislature that receive dirty energy money, must pay for the cleanup expenses when disasters occur as a result, and they must establish a multibillion dollar fund for families and animals that are harmed, injured, killed or poisoned from the toxic chemical disasters from their dirty energy campaign money. If they (fossil fuel firms and legislators) do not pay for the cleanup expenses, and for all those who have been affected and harmed immediately after it happens, they will be held to a mandatory prison sentence of ten years in federal prison without bail or parole.

If this were to happen, oil and chemical disasters would be reduced to rare exceptions if at all.



1. Freedom Industries, a coal-industry surrogate in West Virginia, dumped poison into the water supply known as the Elk River, waited 24 hours to tell anyone about it, waited even longer to mention that they had also dumped a second poison into the water supply, and then declared bankruptcy so as to make themselves judgment-proof in civil court against the hundreds of thousands of people who couldn’t eat or work or bathe or cook for weeks…and this was all before the stuff they dumped into the river evaporated into formaldehyde, which it does, so everyone who couldn’t eat or bathe or cook for weeks was suddenly eating and cooking and bathing in a whole different poison, this one being a known carcinogen…but they’re bankrupt now, so screw you and your tumors. (William Rivers Pitt: “The Poisoner’s Reckoning”)



EPA honcha and Colo. senator discuss president’s climate plan


EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and
Sen. Mark Udall to speak at CU Law School on

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

Recently appointed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Colorado Sen. Mark Udall will discuss President Obama’s Climate Action Plan at the University of Colorado Law School on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

The event also will include a panel discussion with former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Colorado Oil and Gas Association President Tisha Schuller and Brad Udall, director of the law school’s Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment.



The event will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Wolf Law Building’s Wittemyer Courtroom on the CU-Boulder campus. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited in the courtroom; additional seats will be available in classrooms with a live video feed.

The event is co-sponsored by the Getches-Wilkinson Center and the EPA. The Getches-Wilkinson Center also will host its annual Clyde Martz Summer Water Conference on Aug. 15-16. For more information on the water conference visit

For more information on Colorado Law visit


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Boulder completes project to modernize historic hydroelectric facility


The City of Boulder recently completed a 2.5-year modernization project of its historic Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric (BCH) facility with the help of a $1.18 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  Originally built in 1910, the BCH facility was in need of upgrading if it was to continue to be operable.  Without a new turbine and generator, operation of the facility was expected to cease within five years or less.


“Hydropower resources are an important part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to develop all of America’s energy resources.  The completion of this important water power project in Colorado demonstrates how investments in America’s clean energy economy are helping to create jobs, diversify America’s energy portfolio and strengthen American energy security,” said David Danielson, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the U.S. Energy Department.

Boulder’s historic hydrppower plant


The BCH facility was originally built by the Central Colorado Power Company for the sole purpose of hydroelectric power production as part of the Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric System.  The system began delivering water for Boulder’s municipal water supply in the 1950s.  Over the years, the system was owned and operated by numerous companies, and in 2001, the City of Boulder purchased the system from Public Service Co. of Colorado and incorporated it into its hydroelectric program.


“The Boulder Canyon Hydro Facility is extremely unique due to its age, its history, and where and how it was constructed,” said Director of Public Works for Utilities Jeff Arthur.   “The effort to upgrade the turbines was arduous and complex.  Obviously, the city was concerned with continuing operations at the facility, increasing power generation, and improving safety, but equally as important, was preserving the historical significance of the plant itself.  This is a facility the community should be proud to own.”


The modernization project included removing one of two pre-existing 10 megawatt turbine/generators and replacing it with a new five megawatt turbine/generator.  The new five megawatt turbine/generator is more appropriately sized for the plant’s power generation and will generate up to 583,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity during its 50-year lifespan. This will, in effect displace the need to burn more than 300,000 tons of coal (the amount needed in a traditional coal-fired plant to produce the same amount of energy).  Despite its smaller size, it should also generate up to 30 percent more energy because it is more efficient.  The pre-existing turbine/generators were more than 70 years old. One of the original turbine/generators failed in 2000 and was not repaired at that time, but it will remain on site for historical purposes.



Other improvements to the facility included enhanced lightning protection; removal and replacement of aging transformers and an old oil storage tank; upgraded wiring; installation of a state-of-the-art turbine isolation valve; and installing remote monitoring and operation equipment.


The total project cost was approximately $5.155 million and was funded by city water utility funds in addition to the ARRA grant.  The ARRA funding was announced by the DOE in November 2009 when it awarded grants to seven different hydropower projects throughout the country.


Approximately 35,000 new work hours were created as a result of the project, or approximately seven full-time jobs.  This number does not include the hours needed by subcontractors or the associated work hours created or preserved by using materials that are manufactured in the United States, as this project did.


“The city is grateful for the funding support we received from the Department of Energy,” said City Manager Jane Brautigam.  “Without that support, completing this complex project would have been difficult, if not impossible.  As with most of our capital projects, Boulder places a high level of importance on leveraging local funds with other funding sources so that we can make improvements that appeal to the greater good of the community.  We are all proud of this project and expect to see this facility continue its important role of providing our community with clean energy well into the future.”


Boulder’s Hydro Program

Beginning in the early 1980s, Boulder recognized the potential for hydroelectric energy generation within its water system and began developing facilities to produce electricity as a by-product of its water utility operations. Today, Boulder owns and operates eight hydroelectric facilities. These hydroelectric plants produce environmentally friendly hydroelectricity by making use of pressure developed in the water supply pipelines due to the large elevation drop between the city’s water sources in the mountains and delivery points on the plains. This pressure must be reduced to treat and deliver the water and would otherwise be wasted through pressure-reducing valves. Revenue from the sale of the electricity produced by the hydro plants allows the city to maintain lower water rates for its customers.


By the end of 2011, the city had generated approximately 612,531,577 kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity since its first hydroelectric project began operation in 1985. Sale of this power has produced approximately $27,095,110 of revenue and has also provided environmental benefits by displacing the need to burn approximately 306,266 tons of coal, preventing the greenhouse gas emissions that would have resulted from traditional coal-fired power generation facilities.


The BCH facility is located on Boulder Creek west of the city. The plant’s power is generated using water diverted at Barker Reservoir that is transported approximately 11.5 miles in the Barker Gravity Pipeline and experiences a 1,800-foot elevation drop to the BCH building.



CU study: Romney to win presidency


Analysis of election factors points to
Romney win, University of Colorado study says

A University of Colorado analysis of state-by-state factors leading to the Electoral College selection of every U.S. president since 1980 forecasts that the 2012 winner will be Mitt Romney.

The key is the economy, say political science professors Kenneth Bickers of CU-Boulder and Michael Berry of CU Denver. Their prediction model stresses economic data from the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including both state and national unemployment figures as well as changes in real per capita income, among other factors.

 “Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble,” said Bickers, also director of the CU in DC Internship Program.

According to their analysis, President Barack Obama will win 218 votes in the Electoral College, short of the 270 he needs. And though they chiefly focus on the Electoral College, the political scientists predict Romney will win 52.9 percent of the popular vote to Obama’s 47.1 percent, when considering only the two major political parties.

“For the last eight presidential elections, this model has correctly predicted the winner,” said Berry. “The economy has seen some improvement since President Obama took office. What remains to be seen is whether voters will consider the economy in relative or absolute terms. If it’s the former, the president may receive credit for the economy’s trajectory and win a second term. In the latter case, Romney should pick up a number of states Obama won in 2008.”


Their model correctly predicted all elections since 1980, including two years when independent candidates ran strongly, 1980 and 1992. It also correctly predicted the outcome in 2000, when Al Gore received the most popular vote but George W. Bush won the election.

The study will be published this month in PS: Political Science & Politics, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Political Science Association. It will be among about a dozen election prediction models, but one of only two to focus on the Electoral College.

While many forecast models are based on the popular vote, the Electoral College model developed by Bickers and Berry is the only one of its type to include more than one state-level measure of economic conditions.

In addition to state and national unemployment rates, the authors looked at per capita income, which indicates the extent to which people have more or less disposable income. Research shows that these two factors affect the major parties differently: Voters hold Democrats more responsible for unemployment rates while Republicans are held more responsible for per capita income.

Accordingly — and depending largely on which party is in the White House at the time — each factor can either help or hurt the major parties disproportionately.

Their results show that “the apparent advantage of being a Democratic candidate and holding the White House disappears when the national unemployment rate hits 5.6 percent,” Berry said.  The results indicate, according to Bickers, “that the incumbency advantage enjoyed by President Obama, though statistically significant, is not great enough to offset high rates of unemployment currently experienced in many of the states.”

In an examination of other factors, the authors found that none of the following had any statistically significant effect on whether a state ultimately went for a particular candidate: The location of a party’s national convention; the home state of the vice president; or the partisanship of state governors.

In 2012, “What is striking about our state-level economic indicator forecast is the expectation that Obama will lose almost all of the states currently considered as swing states, including North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida,” Bickers said.

In Colorado, which went for Obama in 2008, the model predicts that Romney will receive 51.9 percent of the vote to Obama’s 48.1 percent, again with only the two major parties considered.

The authors also provided caveats. Factors they said may affect their prediction include the timeframe of the economic data used in the study and close tallies in certain states. The current data was taken five months in advance of the Nov. 6 election and they plan to update it with more current economic data in September. A second factor is that states very close to a 50-50 split may fall an unexpected direction.

“As scholars and pundits well know, each election has unique elements that could lead one or more states to behave in ways in a particular election that the model is unable to correctly predict,” Berry said.

Election prediction models “suggest that presidential elections are about big things and the stewardship of the national economy,” Bickers said. “It’s not about gaffes, political commercials or day-to-day campaign tactics. I find that heartening for our democracy.”



President Obama weekly TV address from Colorado Fire


When President Obama was in Colorado Springs this past Friday, he gave his weekly address from the fire zone. For our state that is really something and we appreciate his being here.
“President Barack Obama intends to publish a weekly video address every Saturday morning of his presidency.
Weekly Address: An All-Hands-On-Deck Approach to Fighting the Colorado Wildfires
President Obama speaks to the American people from Colorado, where he toured areas impacted by the devastating Waldo Canyon fire and met with first responders as well as families affected by the fires. The President thanks the brave firefighters and countless volunteers who are providing food, water, and shelter to those in need, and makes clear that his administration will continue to bring all resources available to assist efforts to combat the fires.”

no war Iran

Retired Generals to Obama: No War of Choice With Iran


There is a broad consensus that a military strike is both unnecessary and dangerous

by John Glaser, March 05, 2012

Several former high-level military and intelligence officials took out a full page ad in Monday’s Washington Post urging President Obama to resist pressure to attack Iran nuclear program.

The letter retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard Jr., retired Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, retired Army Brig. Gen. John H. Johns, retired Army Maj. Gen. Rudolph Ostovich III, former deputy director of National Intelligence for analysis Thomas Fingar, former CIA national intelligence officer Paul Pillar, and retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson.

The page is headlined “Mr. President: Say No to a War of Choice with Iran,” and is sponsored by the National Iranian American Council, a non-partisan, non-profit organization headquartered in Washington. The letter states that “not every challenge has a military solution” and “unless we or an ally is attacked, war should be the option of last resort.

The ad also features quotations by current and former senior military and intelligence officials explaining why attacking Iran is the wrong move. Those include Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former CENTCOM Commander Gen. Anthony Zinni, and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen.

The ad is an indication of the widespread belief within the military and intelligence community that a war with Iran is both unnecessary and extremely dangerous. President Obama has faced pressure from hawks in Congress, from Israel, and from domestic lobbies bent on U.S. intervention. He has resisted this pressure, at least for now, but his stated policy is still one of preventive war with Iran, something many saw as an extreme justification for international aggression when it was stated as policy in the George W. Bush administration.
Although the Obama administration has decidedly held off on a military strike for now, they are still heaping harsh economic warfare against Iran for a nuclear weapons program that the U.S. military and intelligence community agrees does not exist.

Occupy & others create a Human Oil Spill in Boner’s Ohio office


Occupy & Crash Boehner’s Office over Backroom Attempt to Revive Keystone XL

Fossil fuel industry spent over $42 million to elect politicians involved; Activists respond with “Human Oil Spill” on Boehner’s front door

Cincinnati, OH- Members of Occupy Cincinnati joined climate activists in storming House Speaker John Boehner’s West Chester, Ohio office this morning with a “human oil spill” in response to last night’s vote to force through Keystone XL. The fossil fuel industry has poured an estimated $42,000,000 into campaign coffers of the 234 House members voting in favor, including $1,100,000 to Rep. Boehner alone, according to The industry lists the pipeline as a top priority.
“The House brings shame on itself when its members take tens of millions in big oil money and then do the industry’s bidding. Keystone XL creates no net jobs and pours carbon into the atmosphere. That’s why millions across the country opposed it,” said Bill McKibben, founder of “Its only beneficiaries are the fossil fuel industry and the politicians they support.”.

A Cornell Global Labor Institute study found that any jobs stemming from the pipeline’s construction were likely be outweighed by the environmental damage it caused and a rise in gas prices in the Midwest.

Activists upset by corporate influence on the process created a “human oil spill” in front of Rep. Boehner’s office early today. Dressed in black, they used their bodies to represent the toxic tar sands oil that would likely spill over precious farmland and critical aquifers in the heart of our nation if the pipeline is built.

“Hundreds of Ohioans travelled to Washington, DC to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Now John Boehner is trying to push it through despite mass opposition from his constituents. I’m fed up with politicians doing the bidding of their corporate benefactors,” stated Casey Abernathy, a computer software engineer and member of Occupy Cincinnati

Today’s rally is the latest in a 4-month national grassroots uprising in response to the proposed pipeline. The campaign kicked off in August with a two-week protest that resulted in more than 1,200 arrests. The most recent featured 12,000 people circling the White House which resulted in President Obama delaying his decision on the pipeline

22 Boom - Boulder Chamber Global Business Networking - Episode 43

22 Boom – Boulder Chamber Global Business Networking – Episode 43


In the first 45 minutes Hear from Congressman Jared Polis and Foundry Group’s Jason Mendelson about current legislative efforts to remove barriers in accessing the highly qualified engineers and innovative entrepreneurs needed to drive growth and job creation in the high tech sector. Brad Hendrick from Caplan and Earnest will provide pointers on navigating the current environment to recruit and retain local and global talent for your growing business. After that insightful meeting have a look at how the Holiday pies are made at Great Harvest in Boulder, Hotshots movie review of Tower Heist and President Obama pardons a turkey from the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Videos in this Episode

  • 22 Boom Intro

    22 Boom Intro

  • Global Business Networking Introduction_

    Global Business Networking Introduction

  • Jared Polis

    Jared Polis

  • Jason Mendelson

    Jason Mendelson

  • Brad Hendrick

    Brad Hendrick

  • More from Brad Hendrick

    More from Brad Hendrick

  • Question about change

    Question about change

  • Question about time frames of visas

    Question about time frames of visas

  • Change and Ignorance

    Change and Ignorance

  • Limitations of work visas and how are they selected

    Limitations of work visas and how are they selected

  • The Show Closes

    The Show Closes

  • Baking with Scott - Holiday Pies

    Baking with Scott – Holiday Pies

  • Hotshots Movie Review - Tower Heist

    Hotshots Movie Review – Tower Heist

  • Thanksgiving Turkey Parade Obama

    Thanksgiving Turkey Parade Obama

  • Boulder Channel 1 Social Media

    Boulder Channel 1 Social Media

  • Outro


‘A New Threat to Home Prices’


CNNMoney reports there is a new threat to home prices.  The threat is coming from the culmination of all financial issues facing Washington.  Between the growing national debt, the harrowing financial markets, and the weaning economic market, signs point to a growing threat against home prices.  The issue: home mortgages will feel pressure on prices in high-end markets.  New loan limits are coming into play and these limits will mostly affect high-end markets and is said to affect 8% of the total U.S. housing market. 
You may be thinking, this will not affect me, this is only about high-end homes, wrong! If expensive homes stop selling, then prices for the houses under them will feel the pressure too.  As this issue will fall from high-end to low-end there is threat to the housing market.  Experts believe that President Obama will propose a major housing-related stimulus in the coming weeks as part of a broader economic plan.  May it be cutting conforming loans or creating more hurdles for ‘jumbo’ loans.

I will be keeping tabs on this story as it progresses.


Bill Allen, broker associate, RE/MAX of Boulder INC,


Facebook Town Hall with President Obama


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