Monday, May 31, 2010

Time for Klein

I’ve been trying to write a blog about our unregulated chickens coming home to roost for about a week now. The BP oil spill has now claimed the #1 spot of “Worst” in our history books. I’ve struggled and struggled with condensing what needs to be said into a reasonable length. After trying (and failing) again this morning, I read my latest Time magazine and found this by Joe Klein. (I hate it when that happens.)

The Junk Shot

”Indeed, the MMS soon emerged as a caricature of bureaucratic lassitude and corruption. A 2008 report found that the agency's regulators were taking gifts from, and having sex with the employees of, the companies they were supposed to be monitoring. Another report, about MMS activities from 2005 to 2007, will show, among many other things, that MMS staffers allowed oil companies to fill out their own inspection reports in pencil, which were then committed to ink by stenographic MMS regulators.“

I want to steal Klein’s best line (the last one in the piece) but I won’t. Go read it for yourself. My point is that while the MMS is the poster child for regulatory failure, it is far from alone. There are dozens (perhaps hundreds) of Federal agencies and departments that have been gutted, abused and silenced. The ways in which their missions have been thwarted are numerous and creative.

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Gail Norton, meet Marion Blakey.

” Gale Ann Norton (born March 11, 1954) served as the 48th United States Secretary of the Interior from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.“

”After Norton's resignation, she joined Royal Dutch Shell Oil company as a legal adviser in their oil-shale division, drawing further criticism from environmentalists due to her prior support for oil drilling and use of U.S. national forests.“

”Marion Clifton Blakey (born March 26, 1948) is president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association. “

”Before this, she served a five year term as the 15th Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. “

If you think this started with George W. Bush you would be so very wrong. If you think Congress hasn’t hamstrung regulators but cutting funds, you’d be wrong again. It is President Obama’s task to fix all this -- to make our government work again. In between fighting two inherited wars and saving the world’s economy, I’m not sure when he’ll find the time. But he must.

Wall Street became a crooked casino and collapsed. Private industry is trying to dig its way out of the hubris heap. They -- and we -- are dependent upon a government we have been busy breaking for 30 years. God help us.

Don Brown
May 31, 2010

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