Conffederate
Confederate

June 26, 2010

Governed by Fools

They mismanage wars, economies, and even disasters:

The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company's expense. "If there's a country that's experienced with building dikes and managing water, it's the Netherlands," says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

Why, why do liberals place such blind trust in legendary incompetence of government bureaucrats, instead of the ingenuity of the people?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 26, 2010 04:02 PM
Comments

Because it's the "ingenuity of the people" that gets us into these messes as well. Your "government is always bad" meme is just wrong. Humans can do great things, but "the people" often cause horrible ends: Enron, Goldman, BP, Madoff... the list goes on. These were people-driven catastrophes (not gov't-created) that government has been forced to deal with.

Simply blaming government is a juvenile, simplistic and often wrong exercise.

Posted by: Bob at June 26, 2010 04:15 PM

You're a joke CY. If Obama had done what the Dutch do -- set up a Government agency "which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers" -- you'd cry it was a waste of your precious tax dollars.

Posted by: Jim at June 26, 2010 04:46 PM

Bob, you are beyond help. The evidence that the government is incompetent to handle this, or is choosing not to -- pick one -- is simply too overwhelming to deny -- except by people like you.

Posted by: Bill Smith at June 26, 2010 04:48 PM

Why don't either of you answer the man's question, rather than deflecting? Both of you answer w/ non sequitur and ad hominenm, when he asked a fairly simple question that has nothing to do with owning a government-run fleet of ships nor the strawman about government (which is merely a collection of generally-incompetent people, a la its response to the spill).

Posted by: ECM at June 26, 2010 04:50 PM

Ahh, Jim.

Your hypothetical premise is mighty weak in the face of actual facts in front of us, which you obviously can't refute -- or you would have.

Posted by: Bill Smith at June 26, 2010 04:52 PM
You're a joke CY. If Obama had done what the Dutch do -- set up a Government agency "which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers" -- you'd cry it was a waste of your precious tax dollars.

Wrong yet again, Jim. I've been promoting the idea of converting retired Navy ships--particularly amphibious assault ships--into disaster response vessels for four years. As part of that effort, I supported a concept of creating a jobs program that would turn servicemen leaving the military into the "Special Forces" of the disaster response, able to confront natural disasters, large scale terrorist attacks, etc.

The difference, of course, is that I was working with a group of people that looked to private businesses and corporations to fund this effort under a non-profit.

I was privately that Democrats torpedoed this and several similar plans it (a) because of union concerns, and (b) bureaucrats that couldn't stand the thought of the private sector intruding into what they felt was the government's role.

You aren't surprised, are you?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at June 26, 2010 06:01 PM

Why, why do liberals place such blind trust in legendary incompetence of government bureaucrats, instead of the ingenuity of the people?

You are kidding aren't you? Why does the Joker say stupid things and harm people? Why do muslims love everyone so much they want to kill most of us? Why do Democrats spend money in order to save the overburdened economy? There are more, but I will leave that little collection.

The answer, of course, is multi-tiered and not said in a few words. Even the middling liberal knows it, if to they would never (or rarely) admit it. You and I, I hope, both know the answer. When Americans vote for liberals, they are essentially handing power to our enemy. They are, I think, declaring that we are too rich and powerful, and need some destruction. Perhaps some just enjoy chaos (though I doubt if most women understand that, they are the worst offenders... they don't know what they don't know, and they don't care because they have been promised peace, security, and... whatever else their girly minds can imagine, and they believe, and yet they are the best of liars and lie catchers, so have to know better, making this an extreme passive aggressive move on their part (the promises, you know, are lies)).

Bah!

Posted by: Doom at June 26, 2010 06:04 PM

So many fallacies, so little time.

To say government is without fault in the Enron scam is to be ignorant of even the most basic facts. Enron was merely the prequel to Cap and Tax. It was licensed, endorsed and regulated by government. The only reason Enron was able to succeed in ripping anybody off was that people were fool enough to believe that the government's alleged regulation and oversight of Enron would be effective in preventing fraud. Absent the facade of government regulation, Enron would have been no more credible than a guy selling watches on the street corner, and investors would have proceeded accordingly.

Ditto for Madoff and Goldman.

Just out of curiosity, how come the current administration has so many former Goldman employees in high-ranking positions.

As for BP, if not for the government taking property acquired for oil exploration and production, and then preventing the very same exploration and production on even a minute sliver of said land using a bait and switch tactic renaming the area as a national wildlife reserve, if not for this government fraud, would BP even want to be out drilling offshore in water over a mile deep?

As for the strawman about setting up an agency to protect the coast, we have this little-known agency that has only been around for 220 friggin' years, known as the Coast Guard. If the nanny staters didn't have the Coast Guard tied up with a long-failed prohibition on recreational drugs, maybe we'd have our own up-to-date skimmers like the Dutch have. Given the opportunity to invest the so-called "peace dividend" in technology for guarding the coast from oil of any source, did Clintoon make that investment, or opt instead for blowing it on ineffective drug interdiction assets?

It's really easy to invoke the Haliburton connection to the Deepwater Horizon incident in an effort to shift blame toward the Bush administration, but what will the excuse be when there's a spill originating from Cuba's territorial waters in a few years when we still don't have, and/or don't follow, a pre-arranged spill response plan that relies on the latest maritime technology, regardless of which country's union operators are on-board?

All of the onerous government regulation of the oil industry was incapable of preventing a horrific blow-out accident.

One of the few proper roles of government is to amass the specialized assets, technology and expertise to respond to accidents and natural disasters that exceed the capabilities of individuals and businesses. A common example of this is your local fire department.

If for BP's royalties and lease payments paid to the federal government for the privilege of drilling in federal territorial waters, they could rely on a timely and effective firefighting response by the Coast Guard, it's entirely likely that the drilling platform wouldn't have collapsed resulting in the spill.

I could go on, but . . .

Posted by: junk Science Skeptic at June 26, 2010 06:47 PM

ditto junk Science Skeptic. We should be harvesting our oil on land, safer and easier.

And if folks offer good help we should accept the help and say "thanks".

Posted by: duncan at June 26, 2010 08:25 PM

I'm beyond the notion that the government's response to this catastrophe is merely incompetent. The stubborn refusal to accept the Dutch's offer and the equally stubborn refusal to waive the Jones Act and allow other countries to help can't simply be chalked up to stupidity.

The regime's priority is extracting the maximum possible political advantage out of the disaster, and actually preventing or mitigating the damage is a distant second.

Posted by: David L., Lower Alabama at June 27, 2010 07:24 AM

The US still has requests from 23 other countries 'pending approval' sixty eight days after the spill. The USA has only 20 out of 2,000 USA skimmers in the Gulf, because the other 1800 might be needed for other spills. This is criminal negligence. If a three mile area of a central business or government district is burning and you have 200 firetrucks in the city, you don't send two there, on the grounds that there might be a fire in another part of the city. You send everything you have to put it out, and then if there's another fire, you can redirect from the central location. Indeed, even that's a stretch of a metaphor because another oil spill of the nature of the Gulf would be extremely rare, but fires occur regularly.

Posted by: eaglewingz08 at June 27, 2010 08:25 AM

Why, why do liberals place such blind trust in legendary incompetence of government bureaucrats ?

Allow me to offer a modified analogy ...

For a long while now, Iíve thought the environmental liberal 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 liberals to side with them no matter how much benign neglect Democrats showed their agenda when in power.
Now Iím starting to think ďcheap dateĒ isnít a strong enough simile. Environmentalists Liberals are much more like battered spouses, returning again and again to their abuser based on another promise to do good. And nothing in President Obamaís June 15 oil spill and energy speech should offer environmentalists liberal any hope that this is going to change.

Posted by: Neo at June 27, 2010 12:34 PM

How about we take a truck load of good rope to
DC. Hang congressmen and senators (by their feet, this time) on all the light poles around town. Message delivered!

Posted by: capt26thga at June 27, 2010 12:42 PM

Jim, I have a question that I want you to think about. Why is it necessary for liberal to consistently try to belittle those that have an opposing view? Now the cheap answer would be that conservatives may have done the same to you. But that is not a man's response. I have seen this technique time and again and just would like to hear the answer from a liberal.

You have mentioned Enron. Enron bought electricity produced by states like California and then sold it back to them. I take my hat off to people that can think up such a scheme. It is brilliant. The problem is that the government should have done what it is supposed to do and had fore knowledge of what was going on. Instead, they were participating in the scam. You see, when government says it will take care of something, others are knocked out of the loop. Thus, when they say they will provide medical care, no one else can. When the me medical care is not adequate, then there is no one to take up the slack. Thus, conservatives call from action by the government as they are the only one with the resources. The same is true in the oil situation we have now.

Now, Jim, name any aspect of medical care that you don't like and think is wrong. As I am in medicine, I will point you to how the government has provided us with those problems and how they will get worse with Obamacare.

Now Bob, tell me what Goldman did wrong. Remember that the government provided us with this financial crisis. Tell me what BP did wrong. Be sure to use facts, not rumor. As to Madoff, he was called out in the beginning by the private sector. The government told them he was legitimate and doing just fine.

If the past year has not provided you with evidence that our government is broken and can not be fixed, then you do have a problem. The Europeans say that Obama is a fool, but he will be gone soon, the problem is the fools that elected him.

Posted by: David at June 27, 2010 06:33 PM
Wrong yet again, Jim. I've been promoting the idea of converting retired Navy ships--particularly amphibious assault ships--into disaster response vessels for four years. As part of that effort, I supported a concept of creating a jobs program that would turn servicemen leaving the military into the "Special Forces" of the disaster response, able to confront natural disasters, large scale terrorist attacks, etc.

The difference, of course, is that I was working with a group of people that looked to private businesses and corporations to fund this effort under a non-profit.

Wait, so I'm wrong that you would have opposed a Dutch style government agency to combat oil spills because you support a private sector effort to handle disaster relief. OK... do you not see the contradiction in your own response?

It's pretty simple CY, should the US government be like the Dutch and have a government agency funded by tax dollars to respond in the event of oil spills, yes or no?

Posted by: Jim at June 27, 2010 09:17 PM

The other contradiction that makes this thread a howler is that CY is trying to blast Obama for not getting help from the Dutch government, AND claiming governmental responses are legendarily incompetent.

Choose one CY:

a) The (very liberal) Dutch government handles oil spills really well, we should get help from that governmental agency, and/or set up one of our own for future spills.

or

b) Liberals are fools to think a governmental agency can handle things like oil spills well.

You cannot have it both ways, pick one.

Posted by: Jim at June 27, 2010 10:24 PM

Having it both ways is a right wing necessity.

Posted by: Spot On Jim at June 29, 2010 04:17 PM