Free Markets, Free People

Administration oil spill report requires a willing suspension of disbelief?

That’s what the GOP says.  For example:

Billy Nungesser, president of New Orleans’ Plaquemines Parish, sensed that a chart showing 140 oil skimmers at work — a chart given to him by BP and the Coast Guard — was “somewhat inaccurate.”

So, Nungesser asked to fly over the spill to verify the number. The flyover was cancelled three times before those officials admitted that just 31 of the 140 skimmers were actually deployed.

I guess some will be surprised by that.  But, in fact, the government is in the positive spin business when it comes to self-reporting on the job it is doing – for anything.  That’s why whenever something is announced or explained, skepticism – of the highest degree – should be exercised by the target audience.

In Nungesser’s case, he obviously knew that as ineffectual as the effort had been in his area, there couldn’t possibly be 140 skimmers deployed.  And, of course, he was right.

Rep Darrel Issa (R-CA) has become a bit of a thorn in the administration’s side over its response to the spill.  As ranking member of the House’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he’s taken it upon himself to have the various administration claims investigated.  The result?  Not so hot:

Committee staff has discovered the following based upon witness interviews and documents provided by federal and state entities:

• Officials on the ground dispute key White House assertions about the number and timeliness of assets deployed in the Gulf. Local officials describe White House outreach efforts as more focused on stopping bad press than on addressing the disaster at hand;

• The White House’s assurances that there are adequate resources are at odds with the reality on the ground, where those on the frontline of the spill express significant frustration over the lack of assets. Local complaints are supported by the fact that the White House waited until Day 70 of the oil spill to accept critical offers of international assistance. Local workers and boats could have been assisting more with the clean-up if the Federal government had provided them with needed supplies and equipment;

• While the White House has tried to use the delay in finding a visible leak to explain its early silence on the oil spill, Transocean officials and Coast Guard documents from the scene of the oil spill reveal clear and early indications of a substantial oil leak days earlier than White House accounts;

• The failure of Administration officials to quickly waive laws preventing necessary foreign assets from reaching the Gulf and other regulations are hampering efforts to clean-up and limit damage from the oil spill. Local officials feel the federal government is making the perfect the enemy of the good in cleanup efforts;

• Local officials strongly dispute President Obama’s insistence that the federal government – and not BP – has been in control since day one. One Coast Guard Admiral told congressional investigators that decisions on the ground are made through a “consensus-based” process with BP. In practice, the Federal Government is not in charge of oil spill response efforts through a command-and-control approach;

• Local officials strongly believe the President’s call for a drilling moratorium will significantly compound the economic damage caused by the oil spill and will actually increase risk associated with future offshore drilling projects.

Shorter: The federal effort has not been nor is it now anything like what it has been cracked up to be by the administration’s spin.  In fact, it’s been pretty pitiful.

But I think Rear Adm.  Jim Watson probably says it best:

Rear Admiral Jim Watson, the senior-most official at the Unified Area Command in Robert, LA, also gave a different account of events on the ground. In a June 14, 2010, briefing to Chairman Towns, Ranking Member Issa, and staff, Watson stated that his command structure is decidedly different than what has been described by the White House. According to Watson, “It is not a war-fighting command and control structure where the Federal government is sending orders to BP. Rather the process on the ground with BP and others is “consensus-based,” where higher-raking officials inject themselves to resolve differences of opinion. In his view, “The framework probably isn’t up to the task.”

Ya think?!  Day 74 and still, no one is in charge. 

Where’s the freakin’ outrage? 



Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

47 Responses to Administration oil spill report requires a willing suspension of disbelief?

  • This is not mere incompetence.  It is design.

    • It’s hard not to draw that conclusion.
      Yet consider the stakes if Obama had risen, even imperfectly, to the challenge of the oil spill with straight talk, red-tape cutting, acceptance of help from credible sources like the Dutch, and a sensible, pragmatic can-do approach that Americans — even in government — have managed for over two hundred years.
      Obama’s poll numbers would have jumped dramatically, not as much as Bush’s after 9-11, but still a big bump up. There are a lot of voters with buyer’s remorse who would like nothing better than a reason to believe their votes for Obama wasn’t the errant foolishness it now looks.
      Yet Obama wouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t do it. Amazing.

      • One of my points exactly.  It would have been such a huge win, with such a low cost.  This is ONE of the things that compel my conclusion, which…believe me I have struggled over for days…I could not avoid.

      • Why should he do anything for states who didn’t vote for him?

        Again, that’s the factor here. Disbelieve if you wish but he’s famously thin-skinned. It’s all too real a possibility.

        • That is not the real reason he has actively hampered the efforts.  The reason is that he is a sockpuppet to his lord and master George Sorros.
          Sorros needs to destroy the Gulf drilling industry so that all of it’s personnel and resources have to go to work for him down in Brazil where he owns a big portion of Pertobras.

    • Wow .. I can’t wait for “Obama Doesn’t Care”

    • That makes absolutely no sense, Ragspierre. If he wants to transform the US, the way to do it is to show amazing competence in this crisis, cutting through the red tape and showing that the way he wants to do business Works(TM). Then he can use the resulting political capital to further push his transformations
      At least, this is the case for any transformation I can think of involving giving government more power.
      Instead, he is burning political capital on really stupid things, and the result is that his agenda is less likely to pass, not more. Is the Democratic inability to further extend jobless benefits entirely unconnected to the gulf response? Probably not.
      A financial crisis opens up the opportunity to pass big financial bills, but cap & trade isn’t exactly soaring after this oil spill. Perhaps Obama is stupid enough to think this is useful, but it’s a net loss for him if he thinks it is. Arguing for the idea that the solution to this problem is more government regulation, in the face of a government that collaborated on the problem and is too incompetent to run a vacuum cleaner, doesn’t seem to be playing too well.

      • Jeremy, I can refute your argument with two words–
        Health care.
        Just plug all your arguments into the reality of the history of passage of ObamaCare.

        • That makes no sense. There’s no “health care spill”. Health care is a persistent ongoing non-acute crisis, and there are millions of people willing to be told that it’s all evil private industry’s fault with regulations only barely holding back the evil, and more regulation and more government power is the solution.
          Cleaning up this oil spill is the government’s responsibility. We all agree. Monetary assistance from BP may be helpful, but what they “own” is limited to the terms of their lease and the oil has impacted what can only be called Federal waters. This is not the equivalent of borking up health care and then sneaking in with extra power and legislation after the fact. If this is equivalent to “health care”, it’s equivalent to borking up health care after they’ve instituted Obama care, after they’ve claimed it. They can’t blame this on “evil industry” because everybody knows they’ve already got all the power they need to tell “evil industry” to get stuffed. Or cough up $20 billion. I mean, there’s hardly any more actually relevant power they could possible have here.
          No, it makes a hell of a lot more sense all the way around to be seen being as competent and as worthy of power on this front as possible, and what we see here doesn’t need a conspiracy. It’s the inevitable result of bureaucracy, which isn’t just an evil label we libertarians trot out every so often to rally the troops, it is a predictable failure mode of large organizations that either have no market incentives (governments) or have managed to transcend them (monopolies). It is also the result of our President having professorial detachment from reality, a boon in academia, problematic when trying to actually do things. I wonder if, even hope for, him having a bit of a crisis of conscience here. As others have pointed out, there’s a real “teachable moment” for him here, if he would just take the time to learn it.

          • …and what we see here doesn’t need a conspiracy.
            But it is so much more tasty when it can be viewed as a conspiracy.
            The no need to sh!t on top of an already big pile of sh!t philosophy is one that I’ve been trying to convey here since the ascendancy of the Dems.  It just makes one look crazy.
            Case in point.

          • Conspiracy is not remotely part of what I wrote.
            I don’t think anyone here is daft enough to use that term respecting the collusion betweeen Obama, Reid, and Pelosi.
            That is NOT a “conspiracy” as that term is used applied to “star-chamber” believers.
            It is merely what they DID DO.  Was it planned?  Well, anyone with a brain would have to allow how it WAS planned.

          • I don’t think anyone here is daft enough to use that term respecting the collusion betweeen Obama, Reid, and Pelosi.
            Umm…  a “collusion between Obama, Reid, and Pelosi” would fit very nicely with the term “conspiracy.”
            “An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.”
            Not to mention the countless other federal employees that would have to either go along with the plan willingly, or blindly.

          • But, stupid, Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have done nothing that is seen by MOST people to be “…an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act”.
            Do you deny that they have work collusively to get their agenda passed?
            So far, they have committed legislation and executive action (much of which I think is patently illegal and wrongful), but most everyone here is distinctly not the general public.
            Do you think they could be impeached on the basis of your definition of “conspiracy”?

          • Not to mention the countless other federal employees that would have to either go along with the plan willingly, or blindly.

            What?  You mean for following the regulations and mandates…doing their bureaucratic duty?  All Obama had to do to screw up the Gulf response was fail to do what we all recognize needed to be done, and which he  uniquely has the ability to do; cut the red tape, and free up the market players ready with solutions.
            You didn’t read what I wrote, dope.

          • But, stupid, Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have done nothing that is seen by MOST people to be “…an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act”.
            Followed immediately by,
            So far, they have committed legislation and executive action (much of which I think is patently illegal and wrongful), but most everyone here is distinctly not the general public.
            Tell us again how you are not describing a conspiracy.
            You stick around for a while, Rags.  You’re a hoot.

          • You started, with JB, using the term “conspiracy” which nobody reading what I wrote on my blog will find even implied.
            “Conspiracy”, as you then used it, is a criminal law term of art.  Nothing I said implied that, either.  That was your introduction, your implication, and your usage.
            To “collude” is not synonymous with to “conspire”.  People often collude…cooperate…to do things that are perfectly legal, as have Reid, Pelosi, and Obama.   What they have done in many cases is utter wrong, but perfectly legal, and certainly not done as a criminal conspiracy (which requires a meeting of minds in furtherance of a crime)
            Then you rolled in another context (i.e., “conspiracy theory”).  Again, something foreign to any thing I’ve written on my blog, or here.  Another loaded implication that you know…if you can read through your alcoholic haze…I never made.
            You are simply dishonest, and a liar by nature, Poque.
            Cheers up your  ass, as always.

          • Poque,  why are you dodging the simple questions I’ve posed?
            Do you deny that they have work collusively to get their agenda passed?

            Do you think they could be impeached on the basis of your definition of “conspiracy”?
            Here are two more…
            Is it your position that the Powerline writers are “hysterical” and “crazy”?
            For what I wrote on my blog post to be true, what officials outside the Oval Office would have to take any action?
            How could it be “criminal” for the President to enforce the law and regulations, simply forbearing  from waiving or suspending them, or directing executive agencies to abide by their mandate?

      • Yes, Obama’s sinister plan is falling right into place.
        His plan, according to Rags, is to prove government so incompetent so as to prove to the citizenry that the competency of government is the only way to go.
        It’s ingenious really.  I mean, who would have seen that coming?  It’s the screwball and haymaker combined.  The design is meant to leave us dumbfounded and so confused that we’re willing and able to accept any crazy idea that comes down the pipe – including Rag’s hysterical theories.
        It makes sense, really.  After all, after the Republican’s disastrous attempts at asserting government control, it was all the Democrats had left.  I can picture it now, Democratic strategists in smoke filled rooms exchanging ideas offering “How in the world are we to top the Republican’s display in government incompetence to prove that government is the only competent way to go?”
        “Oh, I know,” offered one ambitious strategist, “we’ll just send a Democratic black man from Chicago up there to intentionally f*ck government up so much as to prove that we need Democratic politicians in charge.”
        Hollywood couldn’t write a better script.  Well done, Rags.

        • His plan, according to Rags, is to prove government so incompetent so as to prove to the citizenry that the competency of government is the only way to go.

          Well, no.  You didn’t read my post…or you’re an idiot, liar, or idiot liar.
          The design is to shape a narative…just as the plan on health care was to create the perception of a  “crisis”, which did not exist.   Just as leaving the borders wide open allows the Obami to create a narrative on immigration.
          The purpose is to create a political gradient…a demand…power.  The demand itself can be quite healthy (as in effective control of immigration), but it will allow the Deemocrats a chance to respond to it in a twisted way (amnesty).  Likewise the Gulf response.  Obama will use it in the “transform America” drive to fundamentally disrupt how we use, develop, and buy energy.
          Is there really any question about that?  Do you doubt that is being done right now?
          Obama did not care about burning political capital to get health care, the Porkulus, or anything else he has achieved.  Each was at least strongly opposed, and several have been preponderantly opposed.  So long as he maintains his position, he will continue this process.
          That isn’t hysterical.  It is evident.

          • Well said, Ragspierre. See for a similar analysis:

            One thing bothers me about a lot of recent commentary, and that’s the repeated assertion that Obama is incompetent. I don’t think he is incompetent at all when it comes to the issues that matter to him and his inner circle. He is all about transforming the country and perpetuating the power of his administration and its ideological allies.

            When one considers what he’s done and is doing in that light, then it’s not too hard to see how he and his allies may think that they are making steady progress and, more often than not, surmounting what they knew would be formidable public opposition.

            They have nationalized two major auto manufacturers in near lawless fashion. They have shut down offshore oil drilling, and closed the Yucca Mountain nuclear fuel storage project, through orders found to be illegal by federal courts. Whatever the ultimate outcome, they’ve succeeded in killing two industries they don’t like.


          • Thanks, huxley!
            Good to know I’m not totally in the wilderness…

            So I conclude that Obama and his administration are not incompetent at all. Critics and commentators who conclude they are do so by reference to conventional standards of competence. They do not evaluate what Obama is really about. And by the standards of what he seeks to achieve, one can make a case that he has made tremendous “progress” towards his goals. [Ray Hartwell]

            “I agree with the thrust of this analysis. Obama has relentlessly pursued his transformative agenda without worrying about the political capital being expended. He assumed, I think, that he would replenish that capital as the economy improved.
            But the improvement has been insufficient for that purpose. Thus, Obama’s approach to legislating (described by Ray above) will probably reach its expiration date by the end of the year.”
            After the November elections, I expect Obama, undaunted, to use his remaining power to push as relentlessly as he can for his transformative agenda. It was not for nothing that Obama criticized Bill Clinton for backing off following the 1994 election. Obama figures that even if he’s a one-term president, he will have accomplished more than Clinton did in two. And that’s probably sound thinking.
            Paul Mirengoff

        • That is why my explanation makes a lot more sense than either beleiveing that he wants to screw things up in the USA or that he is jut incredibly stupid. The real reason is that he wants to destroy the domestic oil industry because he has his orders.
          I don’t see how anyone viewing this empty suit for the last eighteen months can possibly beleive that he does anything on his own. He is just a puppet.

    • To top it off, in the face of an environmental catastrophe largely perpetrated and perpetuated by a deliberately incompetent and intransigent federal government, rabidly anti-drilling Congressmen Waxman, Markey and Stupak have now introduced HR 5626, the Blowout Prevention Act. The bill requires that any company seeking a drilling permit must first guarantee that it could prevent any future blowouts; promptly stop any blowout, even if the blowout preventers and other measures fail; and drill a relief well within 90 days of any blowout.

      Hmmm….more mainstream conservative support for that “hysterical” idea that Obama is playing the Gulf crisis like a fiddle.

  • Dutch beat Brazil 2-1, Bob Byrd died, El Paso got shot at, Chicago passes new hand gun restrictions, Republicans Diss Afghan war, Imeme gave a speech on Immigration, Congress is going on vacation, Kagan is being questioned, Republicans caused the following bills to fail in the legislature:  extended unemployment coverage, immigration reform, congressional budget, increased war funding for Afghanistan (and some sweeeeet deals for the unions), Hot Bond Girl Russian SPIES!, WIMBLELDON!

  • Oh, sorry, you asked were the outrage was……over what?

    • Heh.  My thoughts exactly.
      It’s a pretty good start to the holiday weekend, eh looker?  Especially the Dutch beating Brazil (I forgot to Tivo it, [kicking self]).  I have a Dutch friend here (a leatherworker by trade, go figure), a 6’5” 250 lbs Viking motherscratcher named Hans.  I’m definitely looking him up tonight as he is going to be ready to party – if he isn’t three sheets to the wind already.  But given the event for cause, plus his size, I’m sure he’ll be good to go till Tuesday.  I’m sure we’ll be putting away a few Grolsch tonight.
      (To quote Hans, “F*ck Heineken!!”)

      • I caught their game against Japan a bit ago with my SA boss while we were having lunch in a Rockfish – wouldn’t have thought they’d still be in if you’d asked me then – let alone beating Brazil.

      • “F*ck Heineken!!”)

        The world’s most overrated beer.

  • Dammit, now I’m pissed, I see what you were talking about!!! – Mel Gibson is a racist, and the Walmart CEO is payed more in an hour than most workers get in a year!

  • If only George W. Bush were President, THEN we’d be outraged over the oil spill in the gulf.  Hey, did you see Blago’s trial sure makes him look like scumbag no?

    • … and the outrage from the “environmental groups” is deafening …

      For a long while now, I’ve thought the environmental establishment was the political equivalent of a cheap date for Democrats. Like the civil rights movement and the black vote, Democrats could count on environmentalists to side with them no matter how much benign neglect Democrats showed their agenda when in power.
      Now I’m starting to think “cheap date” isn’t a strong enough simile. Environmentalists are much more like battered spouses, returning again and again to their abuser based on another promise to do good. And nothing in President Obama’s June 15 oil spill and energy speech should offer environmentalists any hope that this is going to change.

      … we’re more likely to get a plea from this folks to help the “poor polar bears” than to alert DC about the mess in the Gulf.

      • You’re right.  A cheap date.
        Kind of like the religious right for republicans.  They make a lot of noise and raise a lot of fuss in exchange for rhetoric and non-action.  A “booty call” if you will.

    • If Bush was still president, he’d be congratulating the “chocolate makers” for their victory over the Brazilians.  😉

      • No man, the standard joke was that Bush thought ‘Brazilian’ was some number higher than a trillion….
        You have to work with that!

        • Haha!!
          I totally missed that one, man.  Good call.
          Well done.
          The follow-up joke would have to be then,
          G.W. Bush had to have explained to him how two goals to one would beat a Brazilian.
          Haha!  I’m going to tell that one to Hans.  He’ll get a kick out of that one.
          Again, good call.

          • Sigh – okay I did laugh.  I still think Georgie was a better President (hell, I think Carter was a better President…)
            An alternative is to play off the “full brazilian”, but I think you’ve hit on the better one.

  • There is no mechanical safeguard against stupidity and dontgiveadamn-itis.

  • “The flyover was cancelled three times before those officials admitted that just 31 of the 140 skimmers were actually deployed.”

    It could be that for people who are too exhalted to be interested in details, details and detail-oriented people (the people who hold themselves and other accountable to facts and to performance) are dangerous and threatening and are to be kept away. Those are the people, after all, who will be the serious whistleblowers. So it’s best to keep them completely out of the picture and select your managers and assorted bureaucrats from the self-identifying pool of numbnuts and asslickers.

  • “Where’s the freakin’ outrage? ”

    Well, this week, it seems to be over a law instituted in Arizona to protect themselves from foreign invaders…  hmm, I guess the Gulf didn’t have his undivided attention.

  • When you lose Anderson Cooper, you’ve lost the doucheoisie.

    I’m sure it’s only temporary, and not aimed at anyone, you know, up there near the top.

    • “the doucheoisie”

      *snort, snort* *giggle*

      Thanks. A phrase that will stick in my mind for awhile.

      • It’s not mine. I came across it, via Instapundit, at another blog and I’m sorry to say I can’t remember which one. It was one of those momentary stops.

        It’s a great term though. David Brooks certainly comes to mind; E.J. Dionne; Michael Gerson; and then way down in the ranks, Our Mr. Erb and his doucheois ideology.

  • For not doing his job in securing the border or clearing up the oil…..can Obama be impeached?

    • As I lay out here, he’s doing nothing illegal.  In fact, he’s making sure government does what government  does.  All perfectly legal, and few are looking to him as a culprit.  He can fade the heat…however much comes his way…in order to get what he wants.

  • When you lose Anderson Cooper, you’ve lost the doucheoisie.