Let's start with this heartbreaking three minute video from ABC News, showing state/local governments and citizens trying to take matters into their own hands to stem the oil spill tide. These folks are tired of waiting for the federal government to give them permission to prevent the destruction of their ecosystems (I apologize for the thirty second commercial up front):
Keep in mind that it's been two months since the oil spill started, and these folks are still waiting for various government approvals for vessels, containment boom, skimmers, etc. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal spent a week and a half trying to get local working barges to start vacuuming oil out of the state's oil-saturated waters. It began working, until the feds shut the barges down. This is also from ABC News:
The Coast Guard came and shut them down," Jindal said. "You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, 'Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'"
...the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.
The governor said he didn't have the authority to overrule the Coast Guard's decision, though he said he tried to reach the White House to raise his concerns.
"They promised us they were going to get it done as quickly as possible," he said. But "every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer."
In Alabama Thursday, Gov. Bob Riley said that he's had problems with the Coast Guard, too.
Riley, R-Ala., asked the Coast Guard to find ocean boom tall enough to handle strong waves and protect his shoreline.
The governor said the problem is there's still no single person giving a "yes" or "no." While the Gulf Coast governors have developed plans with the Coast Guard's command center in the Gulf, things begin to shift when other agencies start weighing in, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"It's like this huge committee down there," Riley said, "and every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power."
Big government bureaucracy in action. Or maybe I should say big government regulation in action. One department fights another department, and the result is inertia. It's a good thing President Obama announced he would appoint an oil recovery czar to oversee the cleanup. The President made this announcement five days ago, 55 days after the oil spill began.
The same slow motion, bureaucratic red tape phenomenon is at work on the international level. A couple days ago, the State Department released a chart showing the status of all the assistance countries from all over the world have offered us to deal with the spill. Look at the chart. Almost all of that assistance is still pending approval by our federal government.
But not to worry, folks. Our President assured us he has been on top of the oil spill since "day one." You can see for yourself how our President flew into action from day one at this link, where Obama's schedule since the oil spill has included at least six rounds of golf, playing basketball, working out at the gym, and numerous White House parties. I guess there are many ways to deal with the worst environmental crisis in U.S. history, and this is Barack Barry H****** Obama Soetoro's way.
A blogger at hotair.com reminds us that the federal government of the United States is the "largest, best-funded organization in human history." It has over two million civilian employees, not to mention the nearly three million active and reserve military personnel, yet it flops around like an oil-soaked bird, helpless to deal with a two-foot wide oil leak in the ocean, and hamstrung in dealing with the aftermath. I'm going to let hotair describe the rest:
Indulging the urge of politicians to increase their power and wealth produces a government that spends all its time feeding, instead of doing the things it’s supposed to be doing. It is blinded by hunger, and uninterested in duties that yield no direct political reward. The lavishly funded agency in charge of regulating offshore drilling scarcely bothered to inspect the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. It’s painfully obvious that the Administration didn’t notice the Gulf crisis until it became a political problem. Our vast government apparatus was completely unaware of a large supply of containment boom until Jake Tapper, an ABC reporter, told them about it.
Even now, as oil begins fouling the coasts of our Gulf states, the federal government is entirely focused on shielding itself from blame, and taking advantage of the crisis to absorb more money. Out on the high-octane open waters, they’re shutting down oil-skimming barges over trivial bureaucratic issues. Bobby Jindal, the desperate governor of Louisiana, has taken to ignoring the comatose federal giant slumped across his coast, and getting things done on his own. Unable to think rationally or compare costs to benefits, the government panicked and shut down offshore drilling… just as previous generations threw hysterical fits, and killed nuclear power and DDT. We’re spending an awful lot of our children’s money on this government, and getting very little value in return.
No Presidential speech could obscure the fact that incalculable, perhaps irreversible damage has already been done, while union politics prompted the President to ignore valuable offers of assistance from foreign ships. Innovative strategies for dealing with the oil gather cobwebs while the Administration focuses on the really important task of securing a $20 billion down payment on a massive new slush fund. Of course Obama and the Democrats will steal much of this money, the same way they robbed the taxpayers for political cash and called it a “stimulus.” The reptilian Bart Stupak has already floated the idea of raiding the BP fund for health care money.
What is exposed is the administration's endless political calculations, and endless appetite for power and money. When Rep. Barton referred to Obama's takeover of $20 billion of BP's funds as a "shakedown," my only reaction was, what else is new ? Why should BP be any different ? American taxpayers get shaken down at every turn. We were shaken down for the Wall Street bailouts, the bank bailouts, the housing bailouts, the state and local government bailouts, the GM bailout.....we've had our Social Security and Medicare funds plundered by the federal government...we bailout foreign governments....we're running up so much debt to feed the maw of government that it's threatening our very future...
I'm used to shakedowns. Obama came into office PROMISING to shake us down, so why are we surprised when he does it ? As he told Joe the Plumber, "I want to spread your wealth around." Was anyone listening ??? Hello ??? THAT is a shakedown, and that's exactly what he and his cronies have done. So, when Obama bypasses federal law and the court system to grab $20 billion from BP to spend as HE sees fit....what did you expect ? Of course, I'm not saying BP shouldn't be liable. They definitely should, but...what happened to due process, the rule of law, and all those folks who were complaining about unitary executive action during the Bush years ? I don't hear them complaining now.
And as far as Obama shakedowns go....you ain't seen nuthin' yet. He's only been in office for 17 months. Think about that for a minute.
UPDATE - Obama countered the oil spill by attending the Washington Nationals baseball game on friday night, and showed yet more crisis leadership by playing a round of golf with VP Joe Biden on saturday. (link)
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