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The Scent Of Fear

I've always been enamored of Professor Glenn Reynolds' oft-repeated aphorism: "I'll believe there's a crisis when the people who say there's a crisis act like there's a crisis." It's a great BS detector, but it has some corollaries that I'm finding truly terrifying.

What does it mean when those people say there's a crisis, I agree that there's a crisis, but they refuse to act like there's a crisis?

I speak, of course, about the Gulf oil spill.

I read the alleged inside account of the situation Kevin posted last week, and come to the conclusion that the anonymous author is a lousy writer, but seems to know his shit. And the conclusion I drew from that -- as well as what so many others have said -- is that the situation below the former Deepwater Horizon platform is developing into an ecological catastrophe that could scar -- and economically cripple -- the US for a very, very long time.

This is Katrina bad. This is 9/11 bad. This is JFK Assassination bad. This is Pearl Harbor bad.

And -- it should go without saying -- this is "screw politics, all hands on deck" bad.

But it isn't.

The Obama administration wastes no opportunity to remind us of how dire the situation is in the Gulf. But its actions are utterly inconsistent with their words.

While the oil is still spewing, we have certain needs to best respond to the ongoing catastrophe. And those needs are not only being ignored by the Obama administration, but -- in some cases -- being actively sabotaged.

We need a strong, focused BP -- the people who ran the rig that failed so disastrously -- to lead the efforts in stopping the flow. They were the ones who ran it, who were in charge of it when it blew up. Unless we think they deliberately destroyed it, they are the best people to know exactly what happened and how best to stop it.

Instead, we have an administration that seems hell-bent on destroying BP. Hell, last week they extorted a $20-billion-dollar shakedown out of BP. And, cynically, the primary motive wasn't to get that money, but to secure the federal government's first dibs on BP's assets should they file bankruptcy in the US. This was the same move the Obama administration pulled with GM and Chrysler -- bypassing the normal rules of bankruptcy and screwing out the other creditors.

We need an easing of normal restrictions and limitations, freeing up all parties concerned to react swiftly to the impending slow-motion disaster. Instead, we have the Coast Guard turning away skimmers for inadequate life jackets, states being blocked from building berms due to long-term environmental impact concerns, foreign vessels and offers of assistance and expertise being ignored.

We need to find ways to minimize the immediate economic impact of the disaster, to somehow compensate for the loss of revenues from the damage in the Gulf. Instead, we have a proposed moratorium on all new offshore drilling, throwing even more people out of work, removing even more oil from our national supply.

We need to get the best and brightest and throw them at the problem. We need the experts, the geniuses, to figure out how best to stop the ongoing crisis, repair the harm it has caused, and prevent it from happening again.

Instead, we have a panel of experts finding their words distorted and their explicit rejection of a suspension of offshore drilling rewritten into an endorsement. And we have a new panel of "experts" who have absolutely no experience or knowledge of oil drilling, but have absolutely solid leftist credentials in Big Oil Bashing and environmental extremism.

There are several possible explanations for this, and I have no idea which is the most frightening.

1) The disaster isn't as bad as we all think it is, and the Obama administration knows that.

If that was true, then their "never let a crisis go to waste" response is understandable. Heinous, but understandable. This is an opportunity for them to push their agenda, and push it hard.

2) The disaster is as bad as we think, but the Obama administration doesn't realize it.

This would be entirely in character with this administration. They are the Peter Principle writ large: they have been promoted past their level of competency. They simply can't grasp that this disaster is a game-changer, so they are simply playing the game that they have played all their lives. Not because that's what they think is best, but because that's all they know how to do. "When your only tool is a hammer, all your problems start looking like nails."

3) The disaster is at least as bad as we think, if not worse, and the Obama administration knows it.

If that is the case, then the only explanation that makes any sense is that they believe that the whole thing is a lost cause, that it is pretty much an unstoppable catastrophe, and they're figuring that since we're all pretty much fucked, they might as well get theirs before it all goes to hell.

4) The disaster isn't as bad as we think it is, but the Obama administration doesn't realize it.

That's the fourth possibility of my little 2x2 matrix here, but I give it very little weight. It's the most Pollyannaish of the possibilities, and fits in with the first part of "hope for the best, but plan for the worst." I only include it here for the sake of completion.

At this time, we -- as a nation -- need leadership. Real leadership.

We don't need an ass-kicker-in-chief. We don't need someone firing up the blamethrower and sending in the lawyers to make certain all i's are crossed and t's are dotted. We don't need partisan hacks making certain their opponents get the blame and their friends get benefits, regardless of the facts.

We don't need a community organizer in chief. We don't need someone to rally anger over Big Business and the politicians "owned" by Big Business, marshaling the high emotions provoked by the disaster to find a villain or villains to string up (hopefully, only in effigy) while the disaster continues unchecked.

What we need is a leader. A commander in chief. Someone who knows that the first thing you do in a disaster is stop the ongoing harm. The second thing you do is try to repair the harm done. The third thing you do is figure out what went wrong. The fourth thing you do is try to prevent it from happening again.

Only after all that is done to you apportion blame and punish those whose misdeeds caused or enabled or enhanced the disaster.

I find myself hoping that there's an explanation for the Obama administration's actions in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout. That there is a method behind their madness, that there is some unifying theory or principle or belief that justifies all their actions so far.

But I'm not betting on it.


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Comments (70)

I think your option 3 is ri... (Below threshold)

I think your option 3 is right, Jay Tea - that the disaster IS as bad as we think it is, and Obama just doesn't give a shit because it's a pivotal event that he can use to his own ends.

I find myself hoping that there's an explanation for the Obama administration's actions in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout. That there is a method behind their madness, that there is some unifying theory or principle or belief that justifies all their actions so far.
There is - and you've already pegged it.

Never let a crisis go to waste.

The response to this isn't one that's designed to solve the problem, or even mitigate the disaster. Mitigation requires response and action, and the response from the administration has been slow, at best.

Look at Jindal's sand berm idea - if they'd had the approval within, say, a week they'd have been able to protect a lot more. And to date, there's 18 OTHER berm sites that are still being 'looked at' by the EPA. (Based on the theory, I guess, that sand is much more troublesome than oil for wildlife.)

Obama and his set have a very limited range of experience to draw on to solve problems. There's the Chicago Style of problem solving, or 'threaten them until it's fixed, then grab the credit for being a good manager'.

There's the Academic model - 'argue everything out until everyone's on the same page, then declare the problem solved whether it is or not since consensus about what to do is more important than actually solving the problem'.

And there's the Obama model - 'It's BP's fault, and I'm going golfing because this is SO high-stress.'

I had my doubts about Obama when he was elected, but I NEVER thought he'd turn out as bad as he has. It's been a Phyrric victory for the Democrats, and a catastrophy for the US as a whole.

Jay, I believe you are spot... (Below threshold)

Jay, I believe you are spot on with #3 as well.
That one gets my vote.

"The Republican Party is li... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

"The Republican Party is like the gusher of oil in the Gulf -- just spewing toxins and the hope of any cleanup is years . . . and years . . . and years away."
~Daniel Feldman

Adrian seems to be bucking ... (Below threshold)

Adrian seems to be bucking for a job in the Obama administration, as he's demonstrating his credentials quite well here.

Now all he has to do is show a history of cheating on his taxes...

And thanks for affirming, Adrian, that you have absolutely nothing of value to offer on the subject of the nigh-destruction of our gulf coast.


The is not the Gulf's first... (Below threshold)

The is not the Gulf's first rodeo. Read about the bigger spill the Mexican's made back in 1979 (Ixtoc #1). They refused to pay for squat and much of the beaches in Texas were befouled.


Have you been hearing about that lately?


Because the large parts of this problem will go away all by itself over time.

It's going to be a rough couple of years to be a fisherman or a fish. Other than that, this is mostly going to be a pain that just goes away.

It will take another month or so to get the relief well down. Until then there isn't much that Obama can do that isn't just cosmetic.

And, no matter what Obama would like to do about energy, he can't break the laws of physics. There are simply no alternatives that scale up enough outside of nuclear and the lead time is too great for that to impact us in any time soon.

In the end, my guess is this is part of an elaborate shakedown of the entire industry. There will be an environmental fee to get the rights to drill in the GOM and that money will go right into a new "lockbox" that will last for a few years before it too is broken into and spent on typical government waste.

The other interesting problem is that until a better way is found to stop these blowouts in deep water, any oil company drilling a deep water well has to view it as a potential company ender. That's going to change the economics of drilling in the offshore for sure.

And don't cry any tears for BP. If published reports are true, these cheap bastards need to go out of business. I'd prefer it handled through the rule of law instead of Obama thuggery, but I do not bemoan the pain those guys should probably be forced to feel.

I do feel for all the little people at BP that had nothing to do with this. They will also be made to suffer.

By the way, BP by itself can do squat all about this spill. The major oil companies have been outsourcing all of the drilling technologies to service companies for decades. All the oil companies do is direct. Halliburton, Schlumberger and other service companies are on the firing line here.

It doesn't mean that the service companies were at fault. The published reports suggest that BP overruled the objections of both TransOcean and Halliburton/Schlumberger who believed BP was doing the wrong thing.

Lib argument: Squirrel!... (Below threshold)

Lib argument: Squirrel!

Adrian,Pardon my ign... (Below threshold)

Pardon my ignorance but who is Daniel Feldman?

DaveD, Daniel Feldman is a ... (Below threshold)

DaveD, Daniel Feldman is a hyperpartisan hack who has no fucking clue about crisis management or offshore drilling.

Which is my way of saying I have no idea who he is, but he sounds like a member of the Obama administration.


" I NEVER thought he'd turn... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

" I NEVER thought he'd turn out as bad as he has."

God damn Amerikkka! Allahu Akbar!(Flight sticks full forward).

Thanks Jay,I figured... (Below threshold)

Thanks Jay,
I figured Feldman was the guy who posted here under the name Lee Ward.

Jay "And thanks fo... (Below threshold)
retired military:


"And thanks for affirming, Adrian, that you have absolutely nothing of value to offer on the subject of the nigh-destruction of our gulf coast"

Adrian never has anything to add of substance to anything.

He does drive by quotes are 2 liners which are nothing but drivel.

"Once is chance, twice is h... (Below threshold)

"Once is chance, twice is happenstance, three times is enemy action."

This is looking more and more like enemy action to me. Just sayin'.

Dunno who coined it, but I ... (Below threshold)

Dunno who coined it, but I saw it here first and LOVE "blamethrower."

Jay, you Corellian smugglin... (Below threshold)

Jay, you Corellian smuggling scum (and I say that with the utmost respect), I got it from "Mystery Men." But I think it's been around for long time before that.

Ain't it a wonderfully useful term?


I remember realizing, back ... (Below threshold)

I remember realizing, back in the campaign, that he just might be a Communist. It scared the daylights out of me, but I knew nobody would believe me.

The shortness of the President's term, 4 years, and the purposefully glacial pace of Congress, supposedly prevent a single group from taking over beyond the point where elections can kick them out. I wondered how they would enact a Five Year Plan in just four years.

I never realized they would be willing to destroy the ecology of the eastern seaboard in order to seize emergency powers over industry and economy, nor could I comprehend how Americans could set up a scenario in which (conceivably) they could cite the scope of the emergency so they can "postpone" elections. Yet I now believe this is their endgame: to cause a second American Revolution, call in the Army, enact martial law, and end the experiment of American democracy.

BlueNight, Dr Sanity (a psy... (Below threshold)

BlueNight, Dr Sanity (a psychologist over on DrSanity.Blogspot.com, now on hiatus) had a theme going that one aspect of the left - and especially the 'progressive' left, was that they were constantly accusing the right/conservative crowd of doing what THEY actually wanted to do.

It was occasionally bandied about that Bush was going to suspend elections, declare a theological dictatorship, was going implement electronic evesdropping (IE Echelon-like survelliance) and force people to do things THEY themselves found objectionable. That there was no evidence that such things were in the offing didn't matter - because what they were doing was projecting out what THEY would do if they had the chance.

With Obama, they've gotten their chance. And the people, oddly enough, aren't finding the implementation of all those ideas all that tolerable.

It's going to be a very interesting election season this year - and it will be telling what the Democratic reactions are going to be like.

November can't come soon en... (Below threshold)

November can't come soon enough.

These leftist type eggheads... (Below threshold)

These leftist type eggheads on the panel caused this by pushing drilling way off shore.

How's that for blamethrowing?

"What we need is a leader. A commander in chief. Someone who knows that the first thing you do in a disaster is stop the ongoing harm. The second thing you do is try to repair the harm done."

Sorry, all we have is Barry and the only hole's he cares to have plugged are the divots he's digging on the back nine.

As you say, what we have here is an ass kisser in chief.

As much as I am not a fan o... (Below threshold)

As much as I am not a fan of Obama, I don't really see what he can do here. Once the decision to use dispersants was made, the whole boom/skimmer thing becomes just a cosmetic effort (since much of the oil is now below the surface).

What else can the government do? They have zero expertise in stopping blowouts and they also have zero equipment.

The drilling moratorium is wrong as is the BP shakedown. I say we need to stop convincing Obama that he needs to do anything, since the only things he can do will inevitably exacerbate the problem.

Obama MIA "Missing In Actio... (Below threshold)

Obama MIA "Missing In Action".

Or maybe it should be Obama... (Below threshold)

Or maybe it should be Obama MOA "Missing of Action".

I am joking when I suggest... (Below threshold)

I am joking when I suggest Barry do anything about a crisis.. I know he is affirmatively challenged and we cannot expect great things to come from him. The best thing he could do is play golf, stay out of sight and eat humble pie in November.

What the President COULD ha... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

What the President COULD have, and should have, done in the first days after the accident was activate the emergency plan which had been in place since 1994. Fire booms would have been air-lifted to the scene to control the surface oil from spreading, then it would be burned off until the well was capped. But this had to happen in the first few days, before the leak spread too far to contain and burn.

Obama dithered, played golf, then dithered some more. Pond scum shows more leadership and character than he, and would also be more useful on a oil leak.

Now, sure, BP is liable for all the damages caused by its negligence, but that's why we have courts. Yes, a "fund" allows some claimants to get some compensation quicker - but the company could have administered that. They have accountants, and despite the morons whining to the contrary, it wouldn't do any good to have the accounting and marketing departments in the Gulf.

Instead, we have allowed Obama to intimidate BP and force them to give him control over the money. This is government by decree - there is no legal authority for what he did (AGAIN)!

Notice how happy all our little junior Stalinists are to see this - a big corporation is humiliated, may be ruined, and their dream of a socialist dictator in the White House is coming true.

I'll go with answer 3, this... (Below threshold)

I'll go with answer 3, this disaster is very bad and Obama and the dems know it and plan to capitalize on it.

Look at what has has happened since the explosion.

Initially they would not consider burning off the oil at the site. Environmental concerns.

The wouldn't use the booms to contain the oil. They either had not heard of them, they were no good, they were good but not ordered, etc.

They blocked Jindals request to create sand berms to protect the shore. Environmental concerns.

Couldn't wave the Jones act, too much union pressure.

Stopped the barges from separating oil/water. Not enough life jackets or some other assinine reason.

And of course, the rigorous 20 minute meeting with the heads of BP where they all came out talking about their empathy for the small people.

Doesn't all this seem like one hellofa coincidence? And Obama doesn't seem the least concerned. Not if you look at what he's been doing while this catastrophe continues. He's still golfing, partying, and campaigning.

I know Obama's so-called intellect is no match for his ego, but is he such a megalomaniac that he thinks this is his big chance to move the country off of oil? Seeing what he's done with health care, I think it's plausible.

All this talk about "wait u... (Below threshold)
Ron J:

All this talk about "wait until November..." Guess what happens in November? Obama says we're under a national emergency and need to "temporarily" suspend elections, for the good of the country. Wait for it...wait for it...

Sorry, I think this is an O... (Below threshold)

Sorry, I think this is an Option 1 event. That is the only choice that could explain the administration's actions trying to expand the crisis. They are closing down oil skimmer ships for inconsequential technical violations. they have ignored available oil booms being manufactured in Maine. They have tried to trip Bobby Jindal at every opportunity. This is pure political theater and really no problem at all.

When I read the article, I ... (Below threshold)

When I read the article, I noticed a typo(?) that seems so very apropos for the way the administration is addressing this:

"We don't need someone firing up the blamethrower and sending in the lawyers to make certain all i's are crossed and t's are dotted."

That is precisely what they are doing... getting it bass ackwards.

The Reynolds BS Sieve is a ... (Below threshold)

The Reynolds BS Sieve is a good one on judging the equivalence of what is said by an individual (or group) to what is done by that actor(s). In this case, when applied to the crisis or realization of same in the Gulf by the Obama Administration their actions tell you about their perception, not their words. Thus we can see that there has been no activity to remove blocks to help clean up or mitigate the spill. There have been positive blockages on helping Gov. Jindal to safeguard LA from the effects of the spill. There has been strongarming of BP to provide a fund to be run by the Obama Administration outside the legal context of funds provided to the government with normal legal constraints on it for government run funds. In addition there has been no relaxation of regulations and duties by federal agencies or the USCG.

These actions do not speak of a 'crisis' as is normally perceived by the public. Indeed the tone deafness of the speech and other public pronouncements by various administration officials set a tone of non-crisis but of some other operation within what is expected by them. Thus they may perceive the event, may even call it a 'crisis' but the treatment of it is that of a relatively minor or non-event due no special consideration beyond exploitation for a fund not covered under government operations and guidelines.

This falls outside the 2x2 arrangement as that arrangement pre-supposes a rational approach to the events going on. If one has irrational expectations of an event or its consequences, then behavior that cannot normally be explained by deductive or even inductive logic must be examined: the irrational premise of the actor sets its own logic realm outside of the normal. Thus if the premise of 'good feelings will yield good results' we can see a concurance between the outward expression of feeling (the pronouncements, no matter how off-key) and the expectation that good results (passage of bills, extortion of funds, more control over companies) will be the result. Taken into that light, that of good intentions yielding desireable outcomes no matter how insencere the words are spoken, this fantasy conception yields a much higher degree of similarity to what is going on than does normal logic as it takes into account the skewed basis of approaching reality of the actor(s) involved.

If this is the case then no amount of damage, no amount of suffering and no amount of outcry will change the administration's course as it truly believes that the 'crisis' and the continuation of it is justifiable to reach their end goals which have the best of intentions attached to them. Thus it is not only power-hungry but fantastical in its basis (not just in the approach to the spill but elsewhere, as well). In such cases the Reynolds BS Sieve allows one to differentiate between actors and actions, and intents and outcomes based on actions taken so as to create its own logic-system that takes into account the approach of the actors and their actions. What we would considered to be skewed or false basis of belief, when put into its own logic schema, yields excellent results for that schema. Their correspondence to the actual, physical world and results, however, will vary greatly.

My favorite bit of "WTF" --... (Below threshold)
Rob Crawford:

My favorite bit of "WTF" -- refusing the Dutch skimmer ships because they do not remove 100% of the oil from the water, and return much less contaminated water to the sea. Apparently it's perfection or nothing.

(That's followed immediately by the EPA blocking the use of a dispersant that had been approved for years.)

Could be option #2.A... (Below threshold)

Could be option #2.
As someone remarked on another forum, "Obama is our first student body president".

Maybe all they know is to put fwd feel-good resolutions and have no idea how to actually fix things.

I'm sorry, but you don't re... (Below threshold)

I'm sorry, but you don't really understand scary.

One of the things that Vernor Vinge explores in 'A Deepness in the Sky' is the totalitarian mindset. He explains that from the view of a totalitarian that a disaster is a bad thing if and only if it reduces his power relative to those he wants to control. A disaster is not a bad thing if it merely reduces his absolute power, so long as it reduces the power of his competitors and subjects by an even greater degree. In fact, crisis that reduces his absolute power (say kills off half of his citizens) is an absolute good thing if it solidifies his hold on power.

I suggest viewing the actions of any government through this lens.

Here's my take: the Obamana... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Here's my take: the Obamanauts "misunderstimated the problem initially, too focused on enacting their socialist legislative agenda, and viewed this as an annoying distraction.

Then, to their horror, they realized the magnitude of the problem, its implications for their political survival, and that they lacked the technical, managerial, or even temperamental wherewithal to deal with the problem. That's why they're flailing wildly after snapping out of their deer-in-the-headlights reverie, in a desperate attempt to deflect blame onto someone else, anyone else, for their ineptitude.

It's not calculation; it's incompetence.

Adrian seems to be bucking ... (Below threshold)

Adrian seems to be bucking for a job in the Obama administration,..Now all he has to do is show a history of cheating on his taxes...

4. Posted by Jay Tea | June 21, 2010 8:24 AM |

J: First thing first. What Adrian needs is to declare his candidacy against an Obamacrat, then he will have two or three offers to "earn" some money and cheat on his taxes.

This isn't "change you can ... (Below threshold)

This isn't "change you can believe in"; this IS "change you can smell". Akin to the Midas Touch, EVERYTHING this President so much as touches turns to a turd.

Remember the first season t... (Below threshold)

Remember the first season that President Charles Logan appeared on 24? Long before the big reveal it was obvious that no-one could be as consistently inept as that man. You knew he had a hidden agenda. Charles Logan = Barack Obama.

> This is Katrina bad. This... (Below threshold)

> This is Katrina bad. This is 9/11 bad.
> This is JFK Assassination bad.
> This is Pearl Harbor bad.

Someday, pundits will say "This is Obamba bad". And folks will know exactly what it means.

I think the catastrophe is ... (Below threshold)
Patrick Carroll:

I think the catastrophe is as bad as we think it is, that Obama knows how bad it is, and that Obama is hampering relief efforts to punish states along the Gulf of Mexico for failing to for Obama.

It's all about...Obama.

BP notified the MMS in Febr... (Below threshold)
Lynn II:

BP notified the MMS in February there were "cracks" in the floor of the Gulf. In March, the 10th, the rig almost blew. Again the Gov was notified. This rig should have been shut down then. The government is to blame for not doing the job it was supposed to do. 11 people died, the MMS didn't do their job and Obama knows it. BP may be the "scapegoat" and wrong in so many ways, but the MMS is just as responsible for this disastrous mess. They didn't do their job and 11 people died because of it.

You all may be overlooking ... (Below threshold)
David A:

You all may be overlooking a fifth option. Obambi may be getting deliberately bad advice from his SecState. Look for Billary to abandon ship after the mid-terms and begin her campaign against The One. It was/is her State Dept. that is turning down assistance and she's probably advised against waving the Jones Act. Never underestimate the Clintons' ability to one-up the Midicis.

20 years from now, you say ... (Below threshold)

20 years from now, you say Obama bad and what will pop into any rational persons head will be: 20 million jobs lost in 2 years by the worst president evah! Will still be cleaning up his poisoning the gulf at that time.

I disagree, Jay. Obama kno... (Below threshold)

I disagree, Jay. Obama knows exactly what he is doing. His core competence as a partisan community organizer was the intimidation and extortion of corporate big wigs. That's why Obama demanded the Board Chairman of BP at the table rather than the CEO. Remember the millions of hush funds that Jessie Jackson extorted from Big Business for his Rainbow Coalition? The most important thing one learns as a community organizer is, "CEO only do what their Boards tell them to do." Big time hustlers like Jackson and Obama know that "it isn't the truth of the charges, but the seriousness of the accusations" that make corporate big wigs write big checks. Obama knows full well that he doesn't have to win in a court of law when he can theaten the accused with a guilty verdict in the court of public opinion. $20 Billion is an impressive payoff for a former Chicago slum organizer. Now that he has the key to the BP treasury, Obama will show them no mercy until he has wrung ever red cent out of them.

This "disaster" is relative... (Below threshold)

This "disaster" is relatively trivial and the Obama crowd knows it.

In three months from now it will completely disappear from the news.

My paranoid self prefers:<b... (Below threshold)

My paranoid self prefers:
They know it is bad, and hope it gets worse and if they wait long enough, it will.
This way, they can blame Oil as an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Then they can blame Big Companies as the culprits behind it. Then they can blame America for needing and wanting it. Then they can enforce more environmental controls and more controlson the economy. Then they can blame conservatives for allowing the, "bad thing," to happen. Then they can blame the Tea Party for obstructionism. If it doesn't work out like he wants, he will just say, "Let them eat cake. I'm Barack Obama."

Lynn, from a Chicago point ... (Below threshold)

Lynn, from a Chicago point of view, dead voters are voters the party can count on.

I'll go with a modified no.... (Below threshold)

I'll go with a modified no. 3. It's as bad as we think, the administration knows, but the administration thinks scoring political points to advance its agenda is more important than fixing the problem.

The Anchorage Daily News ju... (Below threshold)

The Anchorage Daily News just put out this story:


that Dem Senator Begich of Alaska and 2 other co-sponers just put out a bill to mandate that all Oil Companies put up money in Escrow Accounts for future Oil Spills. No word on how much money, nor who would control the funding, but regardless, the effect will make it even more economically difficult for oil companies to drill in the US versus taking their rigs and business elsewhere.

For example, Shell, which has already spent @$3.2 Billion for the rights to drill in the Chukchi off Alaska, has already been delayed many years for their exploratory drilling, and just got delayed again by the Administrations recent Moratorium (which their Alaskan VP says will cost them $135 MIllion this year) and now we are going to demand an escrow fund. Why the heck would they even want to continue up here when Kazahkstan or the African territories are so much more economically feasible. I wouldn't.

The Left doesn't thi... (Below threshold)

The Left doesn't think this is government's problem. I got a mailing from the Sierra Club today (I may have been a member a couple of decades ago)...Anyway, they had a flyer on the oil spill.

1. Assist local residents
2. Hold BP accountable for cleanup and all costs
3. End subsidies to big oil
4. Aggressive plan for green stuff

that's pretty much Obama's line. no mention of the government's role...this is BPs fault, they to fix it.

i'm sure that they see O as the victim in this. that's the audience he is speaking to.

I have to go for #1 or #4, ... (Below threshold)

I have to go for #1 or #4, and I lean strongly toward #1.

As an earlier commenter said, we've been down this road before. There's a BUT in here but I wanna finish this first. There's 650 quadrillion gallons of water in the gulf, and there's 1.6 million gallons of fresh water blasting into that area every SECOND from the Mississippi River.

This event is horrible, but the environment will self correct just as it has done countless times in the past, and it will be better for it. The Oil will produce a bloom of bacteria, algae and other microorganisms that will feed on the oil. They in turn will feed larger organisms and so on and so on. Yes, there will be hypoxic areas, and the fish will avoid them. The bi-valves will do their job too and be better off for it. Even if all the oil in the deposit dumps into the gulf, it is only a temporary inconvenience. Yes, birds will die, about 300 or so a month, that's less than die from windmills every year. The turtles are somewhat screwed, but they'll recover, and we'll help.

BUT. . . this still should not be happening. Accidents happen and you get everyone on board. You work the problem and then worry about how inefficient you were, who has blame and fault and how are you going to get everyone back to sound footing afterwards. That all comes later. Right now, you plug the damn hole.

There's one organizatio that could be called and they are the most experienced underwater engineers, construction workers and all around problem solvers.

They are called, the U.S. Navy. We have submarines that can travel to the bottom of the ocean, rip open a nuclear submarine and remove the reactor and the warheads. We have submersibles that can bring down 20 engineers and technicians at a time to eyeball the problem first hand and in proper realistic scale to develop a solution and we have an underwater construction corps that is second to none.

This is the Navy's job people.

Obama knows he can get away with dragging this out for a little while to push through cap and tax. After that, he'll call the Navy as a last resort and produce a magical solution.

Fact is that the Navy should have been called first, at the very least it should be called NOW.

The equipment, the training, the expertise and the experience, the Navy is the undisputed king of every category.

I'm a huge fan of the Navy,... (Below threshold)

I'm a huge fan of the Navy, but even if they can get their subs to that depth, they probably can't do squat to stop a blowout. Just for example, I'm pretty sure that you don't want to get any of our big subs anywhere near a blowout, or even that close to the sea floor. They just aren't made for that type of use.

You want to nuke an entire country until it glows...sure.

But they do not have the mechanical devices, any of the valves, or any other technology that would stop a blowout.

Right now, the only technology that anyone anywhere has to deal with this is to drill a relief well.

I think it's #1.... (Below threshold)

I think it's #1.

So long as we have Obama in... (Below threshold)

So long as we have Obama in the White House our Nation will be leaderless. So long as we have a DemocRATic Party Controlling Congress we are going to continue to DESTROY our economy.

The solutions are the elections in Nov 2010 and Nov 2012. God help us.

Dem Senator Beg... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Dem Senator Begich of Alaska and 2 other co-sponers just put out a bill to mandate that all Oil Companies put up money in Escrow Accounts for future Oil Spills.

Great idea. We should also require all first-degree relatives of anyone ever charged with a crime to put up money in an escrow account to recompense society and victims for any future crimes commited by that family.

I like it. /sarcasm

RoBear, you may be right, b... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

RoBear, you may be right, but I think that at the same time it provides an opportunity to shake down the oil companies, this oil spill is hurting the Messiah politically. Look at the vitriolic criticism he's received from the comrades. They're pissed. Buraq is pretty thin-skinned, too, so I bet that criticism stings a lot.

It has to be #3.B... (Below threshold)

It has to be #3.
But there is some talk that the situation was of concern before it hit the news.
The scary part to all of this is I pray that there are no other crisis needing the government's assistance because it is obvious that certain things could have been done and werent to mitigate some of the ecological effects. We are on our own under this President.

Something isn't right with ... (Below threshold)

Something isn't right with this picture? All the destruction of US jobs since Barry arrived. The takeovers and now the timing of this spill and the uncaring response.

I dont trust Barry and something sure smells like a rat. BP money where go where its needed alright. Into democrat and ACORN coffers for reelections. The fix is in and so is the takeover of our country.

Faustian,The Navy ... (Below threshold)


The Navy has a number of systems that can operate at that depth, two of the systems are designed to go to that depth and rescue trapped submariners and salvage a reactor and warheads from inside the submarine.

Think about that, if a sub or submersible can get down that far, open up the side of a nuclear sub and remove or set up for removal via hoist the reactor and warheads, it's probably more capable than the little Skandi bots we're renting.

The same vessels can bring down engineers who can direct activity on-site rather than through a low-res video monitor with no sense of scale or what's going on at the entire site.

The Navy has multiple units who's sole purpose is to fight oil-spills, fuel spills and other hazardous materials dumped into the ocean.

Not to mention our hard-suit dive depths supported by mid-water habitats and submarines are classified but if you have divers willing to or ordered to spend weeks in decompression, we can get very very deep.

Even NOAA has Alvin, that can go to twice that depth with human observers and use various tools and devices from a much more stable platform than the little ROV's. I think Alvin is probably busy counting Lobsters for Woods Hole, but someone could make a call.

+ restricting media access... (Below threshold)
M. Report:

+ restricting media access to the scene

Obama is briefed daily on _all_ the crises
in the world; Spare a prayer that he does
not know of at least one that will make the
oil spill and its effects minor and moot.

Jason: like I say, I have h... (Below threshold)

Jason: like I say, I have huge respect for the Navy and I'm sure they have remarkable stuff. In the same way I would not expect Schlumberger to know squat about getting people off a nuclear sub, the Navy is simply not likely to be prepared to deal with these kinds of forces. I imagine they have very little experience with geopressures, just for example.

I certainly am no expert on what the Navy can and cannot do, but to the best of my knowledge, they have never drilled an oil well, they do not study the geology of the subsurface, they have never stopped a blowout.

Like I say, when it comes to the Navy I'm a huge fan. I just don't see what they can do here.

It's 9/11 bad, but conserva... (Below threshold)

It's 9/11 bad, but conservative Rethuglican pukes are using every opportunity to use the disaster to smear the president, because all they care about is clawing their way back to power so they can continue defending corporations from oversight. All in a spirit of unity and love of country as we come together in the face of calamity.

Your moronic "suggestions" betray how naive and ignorant you are, how focused you are on interpreting everything in the world that happens as something to blame on Obama. You have no clue how government works and are little more than a partisan rube who thinks the answer to all of life's problems is to get Republicans elected to office. You know, the party that hates regulation of big business. I'm sure a Republican president could magically suck all the oil out of the gulf.

frank - "You know, th... (Below threshold)

frank - "You know, the party that hates regulation of big business. I'm sure a Republican president could magically suck all the oil out of the gulf."

Sure they could, about as fast as obummer at sucking it out.

But one thing's relativly certain, as Bush did during Katrina the Jones Act would have been suspended and at least 13 countries would have sent skimmers, booms, safe despersents and much more technology.

As opposed to now, when even demturds such as yourself are sreaming about the lack of coherant message or extreme lack of pregress in cleaning up the Gulf.

jason - "The Navy has... (Below threshold)

jason - "The Navy has multiple units who's sole purpose is to fight oil-spills, fuel spills and other hazardous materials dumped into the ocean."

Psst... here's a clue from a 20 year Navy vet. You're nuts!

Yes they have some equiptment, and it's all on a scle to fight spills of "Navy-size," meaning that spilled from ships whiel taking on fuel.

Nothing more nothing less.

I never realized they wo... (Below threshold)

I never realized they would be willing to destroy the ecology of the eastern seaboard in order to seize emergency powers over industry and economy

No surprise. Obama recently told a congress-critter that he is not enforcing immigration law on our border because he wants to leverage enforement with another round of Immigration Reform.

I imagine he's likewise willing to let the East Coast fall for Cap n Trade.

Libtard: Rethuglican puk... (Below threshold)

Libtard: Rethuglican pukes... You and are little more than a partisan rube

How ironic.

As someone remarked on a... (Below threshold)

As someone remarked on another forum, "Obama is our first student body president".

Obama is a Diversity Hire. He cant handle the work load. All he knows is how to scapegoat others for his failrues and file EEO complaints.

Jay TeaYou have th... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea

You have the temerity to write " and come to the conclusion that the anonymous author is a lousy writer, but seems to know his shit" and then produce this bilge?

Not only are you a lousy writer with no grip of the written word, your knowledge of the subjects that you choose to scribble about is minimal.

Empty vessels and all that.............

Pitiful response, Joe - doe... (Below threshold)

Pitiful response, Joe - doesn't address the issues raised at all.

Do you think Obama's doing a good job? That he's capable, competent, putting all his effort into getting what resources he can where they're needed as soon as possible?

Or is he just being a good union flak?

JL, a response would requir... (Below threshold)

JL, a response would require thought, facts.....oh, hell, what's the point.

Yeah, I know, Tango. There... (Below threshold)

Yeah, I know, Tango. There's no thought at all - it's almost reflexive.

Marc,With all due ... (Below threshold)


With all due respect, and appreciation of your service, I would like to point out what the Navy itself says about that:

SUPSALV has been the Navy's oil pollution experts since the 1970s, as required by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. They provide technical, operational, and emergency support to the Navy, Department of Defense and other federal agencies in the ocean engineering disciplines of marine salvage, pollution abatement, diving, diving system certification, and underwater ship husbandry.

Naval Sea Systems Command's (NAVSEA) Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) has positioned equipment and personnel from Texas to Florida to support the oil spill response efforts led by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.

That's a quick lift from Navy.mil.

In addition to each ship being equiped for a "Navy type" spill, the Navy has other units in both active service and the reserves which do much, much more than take care of "Navy type" spills. The Navy has assisted before, both domestically and abroad with technical assistance and support to fight these things.

The Navy simply has superior equipment to lend to the task. For instance, the LCAC would be a much more efficient vessel for the sort of shoreline shuttling of booms, cleanup equipment and personnel up and down the coast. Such craft minimize the need for coordinating three to five to four "vendors" to accomplish the same task.

In addition, the Navy would bring a level of command and control that is sorely lacking in this effort.

The military is very good at problem solving at this scale.


The Navy has access to much more geological information than the private sector does. They can also task SAR satellites or SeaSAT to deliver information to the people on the scene that only the military has.

Some of the first underwater wells were drilling by Navy SeaBee Underwater Construction Teams. The SeaBees have been heavily involved in the development of underwater construction techniques and specifically they've been heavily involved in the development of deep water drilling technology.

There is no other organization in the world that is as well equipped for this as the Navy is. Everyone focuses on the warships, but the Navy is much more than that.

Their maximum depth is classified, but it's not unreasonable based on current technologies, that if a Navy diver is willing to spend weeks in a decompression chamber, we could have Navy personnel on-site, hands on and supported by our submersible rescue systems.

There is no oil-industry solution left other than the relief well, any new option is going to be "make it up as we go along". The Navy offers the equipment, personnel, technologies and most importantly discipline to carry out whatever some mad engineer comes up with.

Jason: all impressive stuff... (Below threshold)

Jason: all impressive stuff, but again not of much help. Having a guy in a suit next to a blowout is pretty useless and extremely dangerous to the diver as near as I can tell. What do you expect him to do? Cover the blowout with his hand?

I'm aware that the Navy knows a lot about ocean floor geology (I've seen some of their research at MIT), but this is the subsurface we're talking about. They may even have a number of geologists that are serving. But as an organization the Navy has never drilled a deep water oil well, and they have darned sure not capped a blowout that I'm aware of.

I'm no fan of Obama, but if the Navy really had any answers here, I simply can't imagine that he wouldn't have already given them their chance at stopping this.

The Navy isn't and shouldn't be a general purpose ocean research organization. Most of what they do is centered on waging war. Even if they have some interesting technologies that might be brought to bear on this problem, they need to outsource them and keep focussed on their main mission.






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