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Is President Obama Guilty of 'shaking down' British Petroleum, forcing establishment of a 'slush fund' as charged by Congressman Joe Barton of Texas? Although, he's apologized for apologizing to BP about six times now, perhaps that was in answer to his own Republican party saying he'd crossed the line. After all, his 1.7 million dollars in Oil Company donations to his campaign funds won't do him any good if he can't get elected, I'd guess.

Of course, we could go with Minnesota Senator, Michelle Bachman, who claims the escrow account is a permanent ATM for all the lazy fisherman and business owners who don't want to work anyway. On pondering that for a while, I concluded that is a more ludicrous statement than Representative Barton's conclusion. Personally, I'd be ashamed if I purported this is a taxpayer problem.  Or that more equipment on the scene would solve the problem by virtue of number. Fifty properly coordinated vessels would accomplish more than a plethora of ships running into each other. What do these people use for brain power?

Probably, half-term governor, Sarah Palin is more on the mark when she suggested Obama call her for info on how to deal with oil spill disasters based on her experience with dealing with Oil companies in Alaska. There's only one problem with that. You need to forget that Exxon Valdese was not a drilling disaster but a tanker spilling its cargo because it rammed a reef. Strange that a supertanker wasn't familiar with the waters surrounding the source, but irrelevant in her mind, I'm sure. Not to mention, that Ms. Palin was a cheerleader at the time. The fact that her husband was an employee of Alaskan Big Oil, of course, had no impact on the handling of Oil companies while serving her partial term as governor in the last great state of wilderness. His occasional fishing expeditions exempted his oil tycoon status, I suppose.

Then we always have this new hot discovery in Nevada, Meg what's her name, Whitman maybe, who is for abolishing the Social Security System and the EPA to name a few solutions to the deficit. Funny, the trillions spent on unwinnable wars is never offered as a possible deficit reduction since nothing but borrowed money is paying for them. Instead, the Republicans champion deficit of that nature in name of National Security which is safer now than in the eight years they were in power preceding the present. God forbid that foreign leaders might respect us rather than fear us!  

Just from my observation, we have a broken down system of government in this country. There are more battle lines drawn up inside the US Capitol Building than in Afghanistan and Iraq. I do think there are some rather decent politicians out of the 535 Congress people who shouldn't be lost due to an anti-incumbent crusade, I do believe they number about 50-75 out of the lot. Most serving are old men who still have the mindset of multiple decades ago. They have no comprehension of an expanded global world beyond what the banks and lobbyists tell them. No one ever mentions the elements of the Constitution that warn and protect from this tendency. Life expectancy back then was perhaps 50 - 60 years of age. Now, I'd say 70 should be the politician age limit and the same holds true for the Supreme Court and the Executive Branch. People simply get too wrapped up in the games and perks until re-election becomes their only goal. Not to mention old age impediments we all suffer! In addition, I do and have supported term limits equal to the Executive Branch for all branches of government. In these rapid-paced times and information overload, often hype to begin with, we need new and innovative ideas every eight years  

Nominees should have experience in the leadership of entities other than politics. Things like education, history, both US and Global, and the personality to deal with current affairs and world leaders. We need smaller government for sure, and the first place to start is within government itself! Government is so lost in bureaucracy that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing and most of government workers lose awareness of any form of chain of command. It's almost like a cancer with cells wildly out of control each on their own personal mission. The populous needs to learn to think critically again. Education should be paramount, not necessarily 'test scores'. People aren't numbers, and many potentially brilliant young people don't fare well during the pressure of tests with time limits. Logic and reasoning powers should also be observed by teachers, not just rote learning and memorizing. Or letting a machine figure everything out for you.  

Many current national issues should be left to local and state authorities. Only things that affect every taxpayer regardless of locale should be a National issue. Issues of faith should be left to the church. That is my opinion. I think the people should be forced into thinking for themselves more and suffering the rewards or consequences of their own actions. Progress is a wonderful thing as long as the movement is forward and far- sighted, and not regressing into the chaos of tunnel vision and instant gratification. Of course, there are issues of the disabled or the innocent, but again, local communities should be in service to their own citizens. Those old values are not outdated at all. They are simply the right way to approach things. The folks that authored our Constitution did it that way!

As to the current situation in the Gulf of Mexico, please stop referring to it as a 'natural disaster'. It's a human-made disaster. God had nothing to do with it! Analyze it from that point forward and what do you want for future generations? More of the same or new ideas? All the rhetoric and finger pointing is a waste of time. The horrid spill will stop only when answers are figured out. I'm to the point where I'm totally turned off by all concerned. The real issues are still buried in the proverbial sand while people who know nothing at all rant and rave about it.

There is one huge advantage to being a writer and age 67. I've put in my fifty years of clock-punching and often, I do my best and most productive work in the least likely of places. Nature is my healer, my inspiration and provocation for truth and honesty. Tomorrow morning, I am leaving Florida and going to meet my son in Fairbanks, Alaska for a month in the wilderness of Denali National Park. My kids are convinced it will be my best therapy for the health issues I've been dealing with the last fourteen months. They left their home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania last February 1st. A beautiful travel log of all their adventures can be found at: [Link Removed]  They await me in Fairbanks with their home on wheels. When I have Wi-Fi access, I will check in here at Fabulous Forty.  Meanwhile, I will work with my hopefully cleared head and honest beauty all around me. I'll fly home from Anchorage the end of July.

Be safe
Be well
And please be thinking of a bigger picture for our world.

Susan Haley


 **Susan Haley is the published author of three books, several articles on networking, an award-winning poet, contract copy editor, and book reviewer for AME Marketing. She is a columnist for The Florida Writer the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, and serves as Facilitator for the Sarasota County Chapter. She is a frequent contributor to the Fox and Quill and the Infinite Writer e-zines and the political columnist for Fabulously 40 and Beyond out of San Diego.  

The audio version of her novel Rainy Day People was awarded in the 2008 Indie Excellence National Book Awards. She also contributes a variety of editorials and excerpts of her work to various newsletters and local papers, and is Founder and Designer of a Spiritual website dedicated to Nature. Her third book, Amber Returns to Maine and Other Songs of the Soul was released in March 2010. All are available on

Susanhaley, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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Member Comments

    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Jun 20, 2010
    • This was a great blog Susan!!
      My husband loves it.  

      As for Bachman, he cannot even believe how she became a politician or how she can even hold a conversation with someone. In his words...Moron!  

      Have a fab time in Alaska! Be safe!

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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Jun 20, 2010
    • You bring up excellent points.  This nation is so void of leadership, the concept should be included on the endangered species list!

      “...while people who know nothing at all rant and rave about it.”

      April 20, I began a journey that has opened my eyes to what may very well be one important reason that our so-called leaders and government are in shambles.  On that day, I began to see how misinformed we, the public, really are, if we listen to the mainstream media to form our opinions on issues and our political leaders.  I can say with 100% certainty that we are not getting anything close to the truth on the oil spill story.  And so, my conclusion is  we are not getting accurate reporting on any topic.

      This is extremely disturbing.  Who are we to believe?  Once before you suggested I listen to Anderson Cooper of CNN.  And so I began to watch his program to hear his reporting from the Gulf Coast.  But having first-hand knowledge of details regarding the spill, I can say he, too, is reporting false information on the incident just as everyone else is.  This revelation that we are being severely misled, and in some cases, even lied to, is very sad.  Very disheartening.  Extremely disturbing.

      If we, the people, knew the truth and were given accurate details, perhaps we’d be electing individuals who could put this nation back on track.  But I have no idea how to make the media behave ethically.  It seems the media money machine is no better than the evil oil companies or greedy banks.

      Perhaps I need a trip to the Great North, too!  It would help to put things in perspective, I’m sure.  Hope you have a wonderful experience, and return home refreshed!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Veggie wrote Jun 21, 2010
    • Good post, Tamra!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Jun 25, 2010
    • When I heard the apology to BP, made by Congressman Joe Barton, I couldn’t even believe my ears! It is the epitomy of arrogance. If that wasn’t bad enough along came Michelle Bachman! What kind of an idiot is she anyway?! Yes, it seems that arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand in the Congress lately.

      I appreciate the humor in the first four paragraphs of your article. If I couldn’t laugh at this stuff I would definitely cry. As far as the rest of the article your perspective is a bullseye.

      I look forward to the article you write when you come back from the wilderness in Alaska! Oh, to see the Aurora Borealis!  

      Tamra - would you mind giving an example of the false information in the reporting from Anderson Cooper on the Gulf? I so want at least one media source to rely on and it was pretty much him for me. Is there something you could share with those of us who are nowhere near the Gulf?

      I am so sad and scared about the tragedy in the Gulf! I agree with Susan, that it is time for those who have the knowledge to be able to concentrate on fixing the leak without all of the noise from the ranters (like me). What I thought was an obvious solution (sending the National Guard there to clean it up) may have well been a bad idea.  

      I hope we can all give positive energy in thought to those who actually can do something to fix the leak. I think there is a lot to be said about good intention and the power of positive thinking.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Jun 25, 2010
    • Here’s a fact I’m betting you haven’t heard on CNN:

      Anadarko Petroleum owns 25% of the Macondo Field with BP.  Yet, that company has filed a lawsuit to avoid taking on its share of the liability for this accident.

      With that in mind, maybe BP deserved that apology.  It’s the only company the Obama administration has “extorted” money from, to use Susan’s word.  And BP agreed to do so, without “lawyering up” and fighting the administration in court.

      Consider that the administration GAVE money to the banking industry.  Yet the banking industry is highly responsible for the lack of jobs availabe to Americans today.  Why isn’t the administration extorting money from those “Fat Cats” and giving away to Americans who have lost their homes and more?  I’m betting you haven’t heard this discussed on CNN either.

      Additionally, CNN and others reported that the LMRP cap was removed two days ago because of damage caused by an ROV bumping into it.  That was inaccurate reporting as well.

      Last night, while watching the live feed from the Enterprise ROV2, I noticed that the leak had minimized to a dramatically slower rate than it had been previously.  Such wonderful news!  Yet, I couldn’t find any TV or internet news coverage about it.  If you know what was happening, please enligten me.  I’ve asked around and no one seems to know.  And no journalist stepped up to find out apparently.  (But, silly me, I should now better.  They aren’t interested in reporting “good” news, are they!)

      Then there’s the inflammatory reporting heard regularly to boost ratings.  You’d think the tragedy in the Gulf is bad enough without exploiting it for financial gain.  Just proves that CNN and other media enterprises are no better than any profit-motivated “evil” corporation.  Don’t be fooled.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Jun 26, 2010
    • Thanks, Tamra, for answering my question. Why would BP keep quiet about Anadarko Petroleum owning 25%  of the responsibility? It doesn’t add up.  

      Don’t the banks have to pay back the money just like the auto industry is? At the very least, it seems to me that the banks should have been required to refinance the homes that are being foreclosed on with the money they received from the government.  

      If they wouldn’t have reeled people in with low interest rates, making homes affordable to so many that otherwise couldn’t have purchased a home,and then upped the interest rates (which was pure profit for the banks)the housing crisis wouldn’t have happened. I think the government should not have allowed the banks to do business this way. It could only end in disaster. Surely, someone in the banking industry would have had the forsight to see that.  

      By simply lowering the interest rates would have allowed people to save their homes. Now those people who have lost their homes are renting and rents for a decent place to live are not much lower than the mortgage payment they were making before the interest rates rose on their adjustable rate mortgage. Now there is high unemployment and low wages to deal with in trying to make a living. There are more and more people that can’t make it on the income they have. Young people can’t find work and are not going to be able to leave their parent’s home and start their own life which in turn puts a huge burden on the parents. The middle calss is fading away.  

      I guess I got sidetracked from the article subject. It was just that when I read your comments about the banks I got fired up. Now, I’m done :)

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Jun 26, 2010
    • The point I was trying to make was that there was a huge disparity in the way the two sitautions were handled.  One event caused economic hardship to a small group of people and the corporation has been ordered to set aside $20 billion for those affected.  Yet, another industry has caused widespread economic harm to many more of our citizens, and they are given a loan, nevering being ordered to put aside a fund to support those impacted.

      Why such differing responses?

      Midnightmom, you mentioned it “doesn’t add up” to you why BP would keep Anadarko’s ownership quiet.  Well, actually they haven’t.  It’s CNN and others that have failed to mention it.  But it makes perfect sense that BP will not be speaking out against the other parties involved at this time.  It would be a huge public relations mistake to do so.  It would make them look like they were trying to shirk their responsibility for this crisis.  In reality, there are several entities involved in this mess...Transocean, Cameron, Anadarko, MMS, etc.  But for now BP has to shoulder the burden basically taking sole responsibility for the situation.

      If the Obama team was interested in justice, it would be standing up for fairness to treat all responsible parties equally.  But the only one you’ve heard any criticism of by the fed gov’t is BP.

      Again, why the differing responses?

      In time, we will know the answers.  But until then, like Susan said, we will just have to listen to “people who know nothing at all rant and rave about it.”

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