Green Room

You Splashed Incompetence All Over My Corruption!

posted at 9:04 pm on June 17, 2010 by

It’s hard to imagine any federal action in the Gulf that more stupidly self-destructive than what just happened off Louisiana, according to this ABC news story:

BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal’s Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard

Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.

“It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.”

The barges were, by all accounts, doing an excellent job sucking up the oil off the Louisiana coast. True, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal had to order them out himself — just as he had to order the berms be constructed to keep the bulk of the oil away — since the federal response is still a bit tepid, to put it mildly (and “incomprehensible,” to put it accurately; incomprehensible to the point of inducing paranoid suspicions that Barack H. Obama plots to punish the Gulf states for not having voted for him in 2008).

But what earthly reason could the U.S. Coast Guard have for shutting down the operation? Isn’t it still true that, as Gen. George S. Patton famously remarked, “A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week?”

Ah, but the the USCG had an urgent reason to send the barges back to port, a reason so compelling there simply was nothing else they could do:

“We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.

But 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.

Surely you can see that the Coast Guard’s hands were tied. Think of the catastrophe that could have ensued, had they waited one more day before ordering the barges back to port, so the Coast Guard could send a plane to the people they were trying to contact — and inquire of them, tête-à-tête, how many life jackets they carried.

Well you squeezed corruption into my incompetence!

But is it mere incompetence? Sure there’s a healthy dollop of it; but I firmly believe that at core, we’d find what really drives this harassment and non-response from the feds is not rank stupidity but a relentless and bitter turf war between different branches of the government (Congress, the courts, and the administration), and even between distinct agencies and departments of the same administrative branch. Utterly corrupted by power, the federal officials are less interested in stopping the gusher and cleaning up the Gulf than they are in “empire building” within the Obama administration:

Fifty-nine days [!] into the crisis, it still can be tough to figure out who is in charge in Louisiana, and the problem appears to be the same in other Gulf Coast states….

[Alabama Gov. Bob Riley] 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.”

I don’t blame the agencies; they take their cue from the Ward Boss in Chief: President B.O. is far more consumed by legal liability, looking tough, discovering whose “ass” to kick, how best to use the spill to tilt at windmills *, and how to blame it all on George W. Bush — than he is in helping solve the problem. Team Obama simply don’t want to let this greatest of all environmental crises go to (political) waste. There must be some way to spin the spill for electoral gain!

Boys, boys, you’re both right: It’s two colossal presidential failures in one!

After a lengthy bargaining session between Gov. Jindal and the Coast Guard, the latter finally agreed to allow the barges back on the Gulf today. But they lost 24 hours of oil-scooping, all because of internecine warfare among the carpetbaggers of Washington D.C. And don’t think that Americans will remain blissfully ignorant of the feds’ priority list. It’s in the same class (or classlessness) as members of Congress who attach ludicrous, corrupt earmarks to emergency troop-funding legislation. If they’re not ashamed of what they’re doing, why do they always do it in the dead of night?


* From the president’s remarks in the Oval Office:

The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels.


“…and how to blame it all on George W. Bush.” Which the Obamunist himself has already done! Viz.:

One place we’ve already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility — a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.

When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency.

See? It’s that “Republican culture of corruption” again, led by the Commander-in-Thief himself: Bush personally caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig to blow up.

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

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Let’s check the scorecard:

Jindal finds 38 barges and crews to send out for a week of oil sucking weeks into the Feds not finding one. USCG says stop for inspections. Hmmmm. If life vests and extinguishers may have been a problem to be foreseen, why didn’t they call ahead, ask for a count of those safety items and simply ferry out enough to go around? Certainly the safety equipment couldn’t have cost what the barges did. And they would not have to second guess any “universal connector” problems either.

I guess the next episode will feature berms built of non-approved dirt of the wrong color and texture.

Robert17 on June 17, 2010 at 9:27 PM

I guess the next episode will feature berms built of non-approved dirt of the wrong color and texture.

Robert17 on June 17, 2010 at 9:27 PM

When that turns out to be right, you’re probably going to need duct tape to keep your head from exploding. I recommend staying well-stocked.

KinleyArdal on June 17, 2010 at 9:38 PM

In an emergency you don’t sweat the small stuff. The crews on the barges knew what they were doing so get out of the way and let them.

chemman on June 17, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Remind me again exactly why Obama would want to stop this oil spill? Remember, the core of this administrations thinking is encapsulated in the saying “never let a crisis go to waste.” With the spill continuing he can push Cap-and-Trade, he can increase the deficit though more “emergency” spending, he can increase the size of the federal government, he can give out more patronage positions, he has more villains to fight against and he can energize his greenie base. What’s not to like?

In any case, Obama reacts to a situation in one or more of only 5 ways: he appoints a czar, he appoints a commission, he makes a speech, he expands the size of the federal government and he collects and spends other people’s money. And he’s done all 5 already. So don’t expect anything further.

Fred 2 on June 17, 2010 at 11:12 PM

Fred 2, you forgot way number 6 — he just flat out lies about what he has previously committed to.

The USCG acted in such a way as to exert their ‘petty power.’ It is now common to see these abuses of power. A second grader is suspended for having a plastic ‘knife’ in their lunch; since it is called a knife the rules call for zero tolerance. A police officer asks for your ID even though he has no probable cause; you tell him no and he arrests you for resisting arrest or obstruction or something else. And so it goes.

The operators of these barges know the Coast Guard rules that a fire extinguisher must be aboard and that one flotation vest must be present for each passenger. They could have sent a skiff over from the cutter to verify that the rules were being met on each barge; instead, they shut them all down and forced them back to port for their own convenience to do the safety inspections. Chances are they did not even find any violations; people that boat in the Gulf are well aware of the rules. Hell, I’ve been stopped 200 yards offshore in a 14 footer for a safety inspection by the USCG.

Here is a handy link for personal watercraft requirements:

GnuBreed on June 18, 2010 at 1:35 AM

When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency.

Right, that’s why he installed as head of the MMS a completely unqualified woman whose sole prior experience was as a lawyer and lobbyist for American Rivers. And why he actually promoted two of the corrupt career officials who had been named in the IG report as being in bed with the oil companies. And why he allowed this “cleaned up” MMS to sign off on the Deepwater Horizon drilling with no environmental impact statement and no spill response plan.

rockmom on June 18, 2010 at 8:18 AM

GnuBreed on June 18, 2010 at 1:35 AM

Oh yeah, and God forbid you actually get too close to a dolphin while on your pleasure boating trip in the Gulf; the USCG will be on you like white on rice. While the drug dealers a half-mile away steer their boat right into port.

rockmom on June 18, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Pu-leeze. These barges only get certified if they already have life vest & fire extinguishers aboard. They’ve already been inspected & certified. That’s a pathetic excuse to halt them. Couple this with the Maine company’s boom falderall and the only conclusion I can draw is that 1) the blowout was an accident (I’m not going full tilt conspiracy theory) and 2) Dear Liar’s regime is happily exacerbating the situation.

rbj on June 18, 2010 at 9:37 AM

I guess the next episode will feature berms built of non-approved dirt of the wrong color and texture.

Robert17 on June 17, 2010 at 9:27 PM

My guess is that the unions will order a court injunction to stop construction because non-union labor is building the burms.

drocity on June 18, 2010 at 11:18 AM

regime is happily exacerbating the situation.


Never let a serious crisis go to waste.

The Monster on June 18, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Safety first. Like Nagin not letting the buses roll. After all, there was a shortage of drivers with the proper licenses, don’t ya know.

bbhack on June 18, 2010 at 6:17 PM

I wonder when it will ever seem to Americans to be truly “too much.” The way this was handled was so pointed. Such an abuse of power, solely for the sake of demonstrating it.

It could have been done without stopping the oil-skimming. Leave as many skimmers on station as possible and get the inspections and verifications done over a period of, say, a week.

A political act, and an inexcusable one. Every gallon of oil that makes it to shore is another lethal whack at the Louisiana wetlands ecosystem. Clearly, Team O doesn’t care about that at all, since it has prioritized literally everything else above protecting it.

J.E. Dyer on June 19, 2010 at 11:52 AM

You know who inspects vessels for life vests and fire extinguishers? Petty Officer 3rd Class bosun mates. Send two out in a skiff and do the inspection on site. It’s like the cops making equipment stops on trucks.

codekeyguy on June 19, 2010 at 6:44 PM

You Splashed Incompetence All Over My Corruption!


petefrt on June 20, 2010 at 12:11 PM

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