Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘crisis’

Refusing foreign help with oil spill cleanup

Posted by Richard on June 16, 2010

The President's first Oval Office address, on Day 57 of the Gulf oil spill, was mercifully brief. But it was also pretty light on content. Stephen Green summarized one of its main points nicely: "Hurricanes are easy. Leaks are hard."

The President insisted that his administration is in complete control and right on top of this thing, and that they've got the best scientists and experts advising them. But he failed to explain why the administration ignored the experts' advice — and in fact misrepresented it — regarding the offshore drilling moratorium announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

There was the predictable pitch for a "new energy economy" — the absurd argument that the government can create jobs for everyone and make us all better off by forcing families and businesses to switch to energy sources costing up to ten times as much as coal and oil.

The President also didn't explain why his administration has turned down a baker's dozen offers of help from foreign governments that have the equipment and expertise to greatly speed the oil cleanup. But the Heritage Foundation has an explanation: 

… Just three days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Dutch government offered to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms and proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands. LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) supported the idea, but the Obama administration refused the help. Thirteen countries have offered to help us clean up the Gulf, and the Obama administration has turned them all down.

According to one Dutch newspaper, European firms could complete the oil spill cleanup by themselves in just four months, and three months if they work with the United States, which is much faster than the estimated nine months it would take the Obama administration to go at it alone. The major stumbling block is a protectionist piece of legislation called the Jones Act which requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens. But, in an emergency, this law can be temporarily waived, as DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff did after Katrina. Each day our European allies are prevented from helping us speed up the cleanup is another day that Gulf fishing and tourism jobs die.

Now, why do you suppose such an internationalist would blow off all those offers of help from our European allies and insist on us going it alone? Why would he refuse to temporarily suspend a stupid 90-year-old protectionist law at the cost of greatly increasing the damage to the Gulf Coast environment and the livelihoods of its residents? Two words: labor unions. 

Or maybe Rush Limbaugh is right, and the Obama administration doesn't want a quick resolution to the problem. Maybe this is another one of those fortuitous (for them) crises that Rahm Emanuel doesn't want going to waste. It's an opportunity to further extend the reach of the federal government, to tightly regulate and control another significant sector of the economy, to ram through "cap-and-tax" or something similar.

Or maybe it's just incompetence and ineptness.

Stupid? Evil? Or simply in the pocket of the labor unions? I don't know. But I can't think of a fourth alternative. 

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Why swine flu worries me

Posted by Richard on April 29, 2009

There are several reasons to be concerned about swine flu. But here's what worries me most:

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
   — Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff

 

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