Government Follies

Federal Government carries a large responsibility to serve the people’s interests well.  Regrettably, too many times Congress or the Executive act in ways which are claimed as fact based but upon examination are both politically motivated and even worse, based upon false reasoning. Here are two bi-partisan examples. Representing the GOP is Congress’ repeated attempts to thwart President Obama from closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. The Democrats have countered with Keystone XL decision.

The GOP has longed campaigned to keep Guantanamo open and has claimed that these detainees are the worst of the worst, represent an imminent threat to Americans, and it simply is too dangerous to transfer them in US Supermax prisons. There has been much speculation over the GOP rationale. Reason’s provided have been public safety, cost, and why try to fix something that is not broken. Hmmm.

Proponents for closing Guantanamo have said the GOP is really objecting for two reasons. First, the GOP has long opposed closing and does not want to discredit the neoconservative principles that set the detention facility up in the first place. The second reason sadly flows from GOP wishes to say “no” to anything and everything President Obama supports.

There is a sticky problem associated with these detainees. In US Courts, the fact that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods have been used may make it difficult to convict surely “bad” people. For the majority of the remaining detainees, simply charging them with anything credible is very questionable and most likely a reasonable court would consider their detainment unjustified and move to set them free. Would this set a precedent for the worst of the worst too?

One would expect a thinking government would reduce the number of detainees to the lowest number possible. With only the worst of the worst left, close Guantanamo and relocate the remainder in secure US facilities. With the terrorist world having now moved well beyond al Qaeda (like the world has moved beyond Windows 7, 8 and XP), should US Courts rule later for the release of these worst of the worst, what harm could there be?

The Democrats, not wanting to be outdone, have made a sorry joke of the XL decision. The Environmental movement has made XL a test case. The Environmentalist have alleged that building the pipeline is equivalent to endorsing CO2 pollution. Unfortunately, these green advocates appear to not realize the tar sands are in Canada and if the oil produced form these sands does not flow through the XL, Canada can ship it by train (far more dangerous) or move it to the West Coast and export to Asia (where demand remains high).

For a tried and true Environmentalist, the exact argument against building the XL makes little difference.  Lower fossil fuel production is all that counts. For Congress and President Obama, the argument favoring XL should focus on safety and concurrence from Nebraska where the pipeline is to be built.  Safety in the future should be a top concern. For example, if the pipe line were to rupture, what unintended consequences might there be?

Instead we have seen a typical GOP-Democrat food fight with both sides spewing out nonsense. The XL will not make a drop in the bucket with employment (new jobs) nor is it key to America’s energy policy. In fact today the urgency of completing the XL has been overtaken by the new oil fracking has brought to market. Fracking has been so successful that the price of oil has crashed and may not justify actually building XL at this time.

With safety concerns in hand and the State of Nebraska on board (the specific pathway), Federal Government approval should be a foregone conclusion. It appears, however, that President Obama will rule against the XL application on environmental grounds. (thinking ahead to the 2016 election and votes?) Sadly, the Federal Government will have spoken with an erred political tongue and will have once more taught the public how little the Government can be trusted to make sound decisions.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2106 Presidential election, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Guantanamo, Politics, Republican Party, XL PIPELINE

3 Comments on “Government Follies”

  1. List of X Says:

    I think the environmentalists’ main argument against the pipeline was that it went through a large aquifer, and a pipeline rupture could leave potentially hundreds of thousands people without access to clean water. As for transporting the oil by train, it’s more expensive, and it creates less incentive for developing the tar sands in the first place.

    • X, thanks – very good points…

      From the reports I have heard, there are two main objections from the environmental side… (1) there is your point about the aquifer, and a larger point about the refining process used with tar sands which produces more air pollutants. Satisfying the concerns of Nebraska residents can be a rational process but it is a stretch to see how not building the pipeline will change solution if Canada continues to refine and ship by other means or to other destinations.

      Right now the price of oil is low enough that investment in the tar sands makes no economic sense

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