The reflexive nature of the press to defend and attack any critic of President Obama is eerily statist. I found an interesting read via the HotAir headlines from McClatchy, which defends Obama’s action of not waiving the Jones Act of 1920. While the article brings up good points, I will admit, it also fuels another question: if the Jones Act wasn’t a factor in getting international help for the Gulf states, then what was the holdup?
From the article:
In a news briefing last week, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said he’d received “no requests for Jones Act waivers” from foreign vessels or countries. “If the vessels are operating outside state waters, which is three miles and beyond, they don’t require a waiver,” he said.
The article also stated several points that absolve Obama from any blame:
FactCheck.org, a nonprofit website operated by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, analyzed claims that failure to waive the Jones Act is blocking foreign-flagged vessels from assisting in the Gulf. It concluded last week that “In reality, the Jones Act has yet to be an issue in the response efforts.”
The Deepwater Horizon response team reported in a news release June 15 that 15 foreign-flagged ships were participating in the oil spill cleanup, FactCheck.org said. “None of them needed a waiver because the Jones Act does not apply,” it said.
That hasn’t stopped conservatives from making the act a talking point to criticize Obama. Joseph Carafano, a foreign policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy-research center, suggested on Fox News that labor unions are pressuring the Obama administration not to waive the act.
“They hate it when the Jones Act gets waived, and they pound politicians when they do that,” Carafano said. “So is this a question of we’re giving in to unions and not doing everything we can or is there some kind of impediment we don’t know about?”
Michael Sacco, the president of the 80,000-member Seafarers International Union, called claims of organized-labor interference in the cleanup efforts “ridiculous.”
“It is offensive for anyone to suggest that American maritime labor would hinder cleanup operations in the Gulf, in any way, shape or form,” Sacco said in a statement on the union’s website. “Speaking with one voice, U.S maritime labor and management have said that we wouldn’t try to stand in the way of using foreign-flag assistance if no qualified, viable American-flag tonnage was available.”
While organized labor may issue statements like the above, during the 2008 presidential election the Jones Act was very critical to them and they had to know of the possibility of an oil spill in the Gulf. In this newsletter published by the Maritime Cabotage Task Force, statements from the Democrat candidates were published–all in support of the Jones Act. Obama had this to say about the Act:
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL): “I supported the reauthorization of the Jones Act. …maintaining the American merchant marine fleet is vital to our economy and national security. I would oppose any move to undermine this Act.”
We all know Obama ties to the unions are strong and he would never jeopardize his relationship with them. But, McClatchy’s William Douglas is remiss in giving another explanation for the utter lack of response in the Gulf. We had 30 offers from the international community in the early days of the spill that were denied or are under consideration. Meanwhile, the Gulf is being decimated, people’s lives are being destroyed, businesses closed, beaches destroyed, and wildlife killed–and the oil is still gushing (Ustream video here).
Before McClatchy writers and editors come to the rescue to deflect blame from Obama, they should revisit the Oil Spill Timeline from RightChange on Vimeo. (h/t Allahpundit for the video)
So, I ask Douglas and his pals at McClatchy, if it is not the Jones Act, then what is causing the delay in the response and lack of urgency in the Gulf oil spill? And why accept foreign aid now after 70 days? What changed or is the Gulf enough of a disaster now? Could it be, dare I say, the “climate change” agenda. That does seem to be coming up alot in conversation lately, doesn’t it.