Daily Archives: May 10, 2011

“Lula” and Barack’s Common Marxist Ties

May 10, 2011 – 12:23 am EST

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“Lula” and Barack Obama

Brazil’s immediate past president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, a former labor boss, built his Workers Party, an alliance of communists, Trotskyites, “liberation theologists”, black radicals, environmentalists and labor militants, into the most powerful political force in Latin America.

Working with Cuba, “Lula” as he is commonly known, has had an huge influence in the revolutionary wave that has swept Latin America since the early 90s.

Less widely known is that Lula has enjoyed support and advice from the US’s largest Marxist organization Democratic Socialists of America, since at least the year he founded his Party, 1981.

Incidentally, this is around the same time that Barack Obama began his thirty year association with the organization.

Obama became involved with D.S.A. when he attended their Socialist Scholars Conferences in New York in the early 1980s. the connection may have gone back even into the late 1970s when he associated with members of Occidental College’s Democratic Socialist Alliance.

The Obama/D.S.A. relationship blossomed in Chicago and has never wavered since.

Stan Gacek

D.S.A. member Stanley Gacek is a labor attorney and A.F.L.-C.I.O. and was a long time International Affairs Assistant Director, responsible for the Federation’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. He has spoken and written extensively on Brazilian labor and politics and has been a friend and adviser to President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva and the Workers Party since the early 1980s.

Since 1981, Gacek served as a special adviser on North American affairs to Lula’s Workers Party.

On April 17, 1993 D.S.A. hosted a reception in New York, for an “extremely distinguished delegation of “democratic socialist” leaders from Latin America”. The guests, all of whom would be running for president of their respective countries within the next year, included Ruben Zamora of El Salvador, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas of Mexico, Antonio Navarro Wolff of Colombia, and Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva of Brazil.

Participants included A.C.T.W.U. President and DSAer Jack Sheinkman, D.S.A. National Political Committee member Jose LaLuz and reception host and DSAer Gene Eisner.

Sheinkman, Eisner and Lula

In 2008 Jose LaLuz was the chairman of Latinos for Obama , registering, educating and mobilizing Latino voters for D.S.A.’s  presidential choice..

On September 23, 2003 the radical D.S.A. aligned Institute for Policy Studies held its 27th annual Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Human Rights Awards in Washington DC.

The International Award, was presented by Jan Schakowsky, a United States Representative (D-Illinois), one time D.S.A. member and key Obama supporter.

Barack and Jan

A Special Recognition Award went to Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil-in absentia

It was presented by John Sweeney, President, A.F.L.-C.I.O. and a long time D.S.A. member.

Barack Obama, John Sweeney

In November 2010  Obama awarded John Sweeney the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Socialist revolution is international in scope.

The same people who helped deliver Brazil to the socialists and communists, are working to do the same to the U.S.

This may help explain why Barack Obama lets Brazil drill for Gulf oil, but denies American companies the same right.

He is simply looking after his real friends.

Original Article

Cuba is going to drill for oil; what’s the US reaction?

By News Desk on May 9, 2011 8:51 AM

For more than 50 years, Cuba and the US have been at loggerheads over just about everything. But now, as Platts’ Leslie Moore Mirra spells out in this week’s Platts Oilgram News column “New Frontiers,” it is the threat of an oil spill from drilling in Cuban waters that may lead the two sides to begin talking about at least one area of common interest.

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Could the prospect of a foul oil spill between the US and Cuba bring the two together?

The US Treasury Department in late April granted a special license to the International Association of Drilling Contractors that would permit Cubans to attend a conference hosted by a US-based organization in Trinidad–a request that was months in the making and on which the IADC spent about $50,000 worth of “time and talent” trying to make happen, the group’s director Lee Hunt said last week in an interview.

As Cuba nudges closer to deepwater oil exploration in its Gulf of Mexico waters some 50 miles from Florida shores, concerns are growing as to whether the island nation would be prepared to handle an oil spill.

As soon as the Saipem-manufactured Scarabeo rig arrives for Repsol’s deepwater exploration venture in Cuba waters, a number of political reactions will be generated, said Cuba energy consultant Jorge Pinon.

But others are skeptical that there will be much change at all. “We need to engage the Cubans but we can’t,” said Brian Petty, a senior vice president for government affairs at IADC.

Cuba is seen as holding rigorous oil spill standards modeled after the UK and Norway, but observers are also making noises that Cuba ought to be a party to the broad “MexUS” agreement.

The agreement followed the 1979 Ixtoc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the result of which tarred both the Texas and Mexican coastlines. In the months-long oil spill, hundreds of aerial missions dropped a chemical dispersant over the Gulf of Mexico.

MexUS establishes standard operational procedures “to coordinate bilateral responses to pollution incidents that occur in, or threaten, coastal waters or areas of the border zones between Mexico and the US and that could affect or threaten the marine environment of both parties,” according to a copy of the MexUS agreement posted on the US Environmental Protection Agency‘s website.

While heavy on organizational flow charts, MexUS does articulate a joint response plan in the case of a Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

For example, “response operations will be coordinated when both countries agree. Response objectives are to prevent, control, mitigate or eliminate the threat of an incident, to minimize adverse effects to the marine environment and to protect public health and welfare,” the plan says.

In case of a spill, the two countries would form a joint task force responsible for decisions.

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Despite the document’s formality and flow charts, some wonder if it would actually impose the structure or put up the money necessary for a cleanup.

“On paper, it looks to be an effective regime but to be honest in practice I can’t tell if there are serious problems with it,” said Richard McLaughin, who oversees marine policy and law at the Harte Research Institute’s Gulf of Mexico studies. Is MexUS “effective or window-dressing, no one knows,” McLaughlin said. “You have to see how it’s implemented on the ground,” he said.

Another line of inquiry that McLaughlin wants to probe is whether it might not be time to update the agreement and incorporate private entities such as the Marine Well Containment Company and the Helix Energy Solutions Group, both of which aim to provide quick emergency access to containment equipment used in the Macondo oil spill. But Charlie Engelmann, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, said that for now MWCC “is designed to respond to an incident in the US Gulf of Mexico.”

The US Coast Guard’s Corpus Christi, Texas, unit, which would respond to a Gulf oil spill, was not available for comment.

Further complicating the Gulf of Mexico picture could be the Bahamas, now emerging as a potential oil explorer, Petty said. As they gear up and offer offshore resources near Florida waters “it’s going to set Ileana Ros’ hair on fire,” Petty said of Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

She has introduced legislation aimed at halting Cuba oil exploration near Florida waters.

Given righteous Cuban-Americans firmly opposed to the end of the US embargo on Cuba, some doubt that even the administration of President Barack Obama will move to embrace Cuba into a MexUS protocol. “You have some strong headwinds against doing anything,” Petty said. “It’s tough…it’s the power of a political community that’s wealthy and influential and votes,” Petty said.

For now, however, the IADC seems pleased with a small opening provided by the administration’s allowing a Cuba environmental official to attend the IADC’s environmental meeting later this week in Trinidad. “We’re hoping others will come,” Petty said, adding that the US license granted would allow other Cubans to attend, too.–Leslie Moore Mira in New York

Original Article

Editorial: Phony ‘Safety’ Fears Cripple U.S. Oil

Posted 05/09/2011 06:55 PM ET
IBD Editorials

Regulation: The Energy Department wants to find ways to make hydraulic fracturing, a fast-growing method of extracting natural gas, safer and cleaner. Say, isn’t that how the administration justified its offshore drilling ban?

We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you drill safely. That was the canard thrown out by President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar when they announced the ban on offshore drilling following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill.

Since then the drilling industry in the Gulf of Mexico has collapsed and output has dropped. Although the ban was ostensibly lifted, it has been replaced by a new permit system that is so slow that rigs have left the Gulf for foreign shores. At least one drilling company has filed for bankruptcy.

The safety mantra was raised once again last Thursday when Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the appointment of a seven-member panel to study hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” and come up with new safety standards that address concerns raised by environmentalists.

The process involves the injection under high pressure of fluids, mainly water with a few chemicals added, to fracture the porous shale rock found in huge formations in the northeast and Rocky Mountain West and get at the oil and gas trapped inside the porous rock.

Environmentalists contend these chemical additives contaminate ground water supplies.

“America’s vast natural gas resources can generate many new jobs and provide significant environmental benefits,” Chu said. “But we need to ensure we harness these resources safely.” It was a similar “but” that led the Obama administration to impose a seven-year ban on offshore drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, off both coasts and in the energy-rich Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska.

The new panel includes such friends of domestic energy as Kathleen McGinty, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and an aide to Al Gore when he was a senator, and Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

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It was a similar panel created by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after the Deepwater Horizon blowout that led to the current moratoria on off shore drilling.

But so committed is this administration in its opposition to fossil fuel extraction, except in Brazil, that it had to doctor that panel’s evaluations to make it seem they endorsed the drilling ban when they did not.

The administration was even found in contempt of court for trying to reinstate its moratorium after a judge issued an injunction on the grounds that the moratorium was too broad in its scope and totally unjustified based on the available evidence.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman argued Salazar’s original Gulf drilling moratorium was based on flawed reasoning.

“If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are?” Feldman asked. “That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing.”

We think so too.

We believe the safety issue is a cover for the Obama administration’s ideologically driven animus toward fossil fuels and its deliberate campaign to raise energy prices — and thereby to make its favored “green” alternatives look more competitive and attractive.

Original Article

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