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OBAMA’S GULF OIL CRISIS V.S. TRUMP’S WUHAN VIRUS CRISIS
by Howard Rotberg
Psychological Projection, according to UrbanDictionary.com, is “An unconscious self-defence mechanism characterized by a person unconsciously attributing their own issues onto someone or something else as a form of delusion and denial.”
Former President Barack Obama delivered a virtual commencement speech May 16th for about 27,000 total students from 78 historically black colleges and universities.
During the online speech he said: "More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they're doing. A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge."
A few days earlier, according to Newsweek, in a private call with thousands of supporters, Obama said Trump's response to the COVID-19 crisis was "anemic and spotty."
Some wondered if this was just a way to shift attention away from disclosures that week that Obama may well have been involved in some way with what pro-Trump commentators are calling “Obamagate” and anti-Trump commentators are calling a “conspiracy theory”: that President Barack Obama’s administration improperly weaponized U.S. intelligence agencies in a variety of different ways against Donald Trump and other political enemies, both before and after the election.
Allegations include: fraudulently obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to spy on American citizens when the contents of affidavits were never verified, promoting the Democratic National Committee-funded dossier assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele that containe admitted lies; politicizing intelligence analysis; leaking intelligence; and spying on political opponents and journalists.
It is now clear that the two-year, $40 million Muller investigation into supposed Trump “collusion” with Russia was based on knowingly false allegations. It is also clear that the impeachment hearing which took up valuable time when the nation should have turned its full attention to the coming pandemic, never had any chance of success and was filled from beginning to end, with false statements from Adam Schiff and other Democrats. We now know that then-President Obama and then-Vice President Biden attended a meeting after the election and before the swearing-in of the new President, that results in the question being asked, “What did Obama know and when did he know it”. Anti-Trump media have been in full attack mode; the unfairness of the mainstream media can clearly be seen as the first few pages of links to a search of “Obamagate” on Google are chosen to be from anti-Trump media such as CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, Vox, Politico, Atlantic, New Yorker, etc.
Now that Obama has come out swinging on the question of President Trump’s leadership during the Wuhan Virus, he should be confronted factually in several ways: There is no question that Trump assembled and listened to the advice of some of the most respected experts in the field, who were not always correct in their recommendations; he was tireless in his work to round up medical supplies and help even “blue states” that, like New York, had governors who were little prepared and made questionable judgment calls; his briefings kept the American people informed; Trump’s allegations against China and the World Health Organization were correct; his banning of flights to America from Wuhan in late January (before some of his advisors advocated that) showed excellent judgment.
And, the question must be asked: Is Obama guilty of projection in the matter of Trump’s leadership now compared to Obama’s handling of the Gulf Oil crisis?
Suzanne Goldenberg reporting on September 28, 2010 in Britain’s The Guardian said that the Obama administration “lost the public trust and may have sabotaged clean-up operations in the Gulf of Mexico by grossly underestimating the amount of oil gushing from BP's broken Macondo well, according to a White House commission appointed to investigate the spill.”
“In a scathing critique of the administration's handling of the disaster, the two co-chairs of the commission ... said government officials made a serious blunder by releasing early estimates of the spill that were about 60 times too low.”
And clean-up has been less than satisfactory:
"Over 50% of the total discharge is a highly durable material that resists further dissipation," Ian MacDonald, a scientist at Florida State University told the commission.
"Much of it is now buried in marine and coastal sediments. There is scant evidence for bacterial degradation of this material prior to burial."
At the end of May, 2010, Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity interviewed Rudy Giuliani, who was generally viewed as an effective mayor of New York during 9/11, about Obama’s leadership after the oil spill:
Said Giuliani: “It couldn't be worse. This would be an example, if you are taught leadership 101 of exactly what not to do. Minimize it at first. Two days after or three days after it happened, go on vacation. He's been on vacation more often than he has by far been to Louisiana or Mississippi or any of the places affected.
“The administration has made every mistake it could make right down to this criminal investigation of BP....why are you (delaying) criminally investigating them until this is over? And if they are being criminally investigated, then why are we allowing them to do (the clean-up)?
“The President should (have) immediately taken control; should have gone there; should have been there a lot more than twice; should have been leading the charge from the front ...
“And the reality is, he should have brought in the best experts. And he should have set up a team of independent advisers; could be advising him directly. So he wouldn't be just in the hands of BP.”
The government approved the actions of BP in using an extremely hazardous chemical dispersant called Corexit. The Obama administration reversed the EPA banning of the substance in this case. The mainstream media ignored the story. All this was a very odd, and perhaps disturbing story. In fact, the only decent media reporting at the time was from The Christian Science Monitor, Rolling Stone, and from Al Jazeera. Recently, more attention to the problem has come from environmental and other non-profits.
The Al Jazeera story disclosed that the Obama administration, via the National Marine Fisheries Service, issued a gag order to force marine scientists who were contracted to document the spikes in dolphin mortality and to collect specimens and tissue samples to keep their findings confidential.
The dispersant breaks up the oil into smaller plumes that stay suspended below the surface.
The dangers of Corexit are discussed in an a Takepart media essay that appeared in Huffington Post on April 25, 2013 which says that “a number of recent studies show that BP and the feds may have made a huge mistake, for which everything from microscopic organisms to bottlenose dolphins are now paying the highest price ... Corexit is not only toxic to marine life on its own, but when combined with crude oil, the mixture becomes several times more toxic than oil or dispersant alone.”
There is increasing concern that Corexit dispersant is a dramatic health concern. The Environmental Protection Agency itself, first ordered BP to discontinue its use, and then several months after BP refused to discontinue it, decided in a report that it was not so bad, after all.
The main problem with using dispersants to treat the gulf spill was firstly, their toxicity, and secondly, that it makes it nearly impossible to remove the oil from the ocean. With the dispersants, all the oil is left in the ocean and is hopefully eaten over time by microbes. Most of the dispersed oil never rises to the surface but stays deep underwater in massive plumes, out of reach from skimmers and other oil collection ships.
Dispersing oil and leaving it in the ocean is effective for smaller spills where the oil has relatively little impact. For the gulf crisis, the quantities of oil were so large that leaving this oil in the ocean will have a devastating impact on ecosystems. Some argue that it is better to let the oil float to the surface and properly collect it.
Some Corexit continues to escape into the atmosphere and is carried by winds, so that rainfall in a very wide area of the east part of the United States might be affected, which of course is a health concern, unreported by mainstream media.
The article in Rolling Stone, states that the Obama administration had “failed to adequately reform the Minerals Management Service [MMS], the scandal-ridden federal agency that for years had essentially allowed the oil industry to self-regulate….”
“Instead of cracking down on MMS, as he had vowed to do even before taking office, Obama left in place many of the top officials who oversaw the agency’s culture of corruption. He permitted it to rubber-stamp dangerous drilling operations by BP – a firm with the worst safety record of any oil company – with virtually no environmental safeguards.” Rolling Stone also documents how it took the President at least a week to even comprehend the enormity of the problem he was facing, preferring to tour other sites, even taking a golf vacation, while the crisis spun out of control.
Perhaps former President Obama should follow the example of former President George W. Bush who rarely made public criticisms about the next president’s failures.
It appears to me that we should ignore what Obama has to say about President Trump’s handling of this crisis because there is a considerable amount of projection at work.
Howard Rotberg is the author of four books on ideologies and values: The Second Catastrophe: A Novel about a Book and its Author; Exploring Vancouverism: The Political Culture of Canada’s Lotus Land; Tolerism: The Ideology Revealed; and The Ideological Path to Submission... and what we can do about it. He writes periodically for Frontpage Magazine, New English Review, Israel National News. Israpundit, Jewish Voice of New York, and others. He is president of Canada’s sole conservative values publishing house, Mantua Books, www.mantuabooks.com and lives in Hamilton, Ontario Canada