Reinventing Government Ruining the Gulf of Mexico
This article by David Hilzenrath in the Washington Post is interesting. The news is that an internal inspection for Transocean use reported that some equipment (two cranes) had to be replaced and could not be used, but the official inspection outsourced to a private firm, concluded that everything was fine (this is the rig which burned and sank causing the huge BP spill). I learned how little I know about regulation of drilling rigs. First, they are considered ships and, therefore, are licensed by the nation where they are registered. The Marshall Islands decided that it was fine for the Deepwater Horizon to drill in the gulf. This is crazy. Drilling rigs are not like freight ships. If a country regulates who can drill somewhere, they should regulate the equipment. This is an obvious reform, which will never happen.
Second, like the Marshall Islands, the USA outsources inspections to firms hired by those they inspect (like ratings agencies). This second bit of insanity is a recent innovation introduced by the Coast Guard in 1995 back when the guy who signed the commodity futures modernization act was President. There is no hint in the article that Congress made the executive branch do this. I think it was part of Reinventing Government TM.
I think it’s past time for a serious reassessment of Clinton. For one thing, I would like to know which other chicken coops are guarded by foxes, before the chickens come home to roost.
The military industrial complex is totally run by foxes bent on pillaging the butter for their useless war machines.
The pentagon has been run by the vendors since it began spreading huge profits to buy congress after WW II, and the start of the perpetual mobilization misnamed cold war.
Any thought counter to being armed to the teeth to fight WW II over again is career suicide. The only experts are those for whom no fraction of GDP or odscene spending is large enough for the war machine. The pentagon is populated with foxes, same for congress working for industry bagmen.
In some instances the foxes replace contentious civilians protected by the 1887 acts establishing merit, and throw out the standards and specifications, so the foxes could let the trash go and no one has a standard to hold it against.
Perfect circular logic there are no rules and the experts say it is all needed or the US as they know it will end.
The US needs to be less militarist and more humane.
Robert–The Clinton administration was dead set on reducing the size of federal payrolls and they did. Something like 275K federal jobs were outsourced, phased out, redefined, or otherwise not filled. During Clinton’s tenure, an Exec Order called for competitive bids by federal agencies vs. private contractors for “non-governmental functions.” Like quality reviews, health and safety inspections, and the like. Not surprisingly, quality control ceased to exist in some agencies–and we know what happened next. I didn’t vote for him the second time for that reason. His administration did balance the budget. But, they didn’t pay then, so we’re paying now. Nancy Ortiz
One could fix the confict of interest piece, by providing that the inspection fee is paid to the gov who picks the inspector. In the case of the rigs its clear that the BP audit was detailed and through, but was apparently ignored by the operating folks, both for BP and TransOcean.
I agree 100% with this.
The defense contractors self-monitor and evaluate all the time. Major weapons systems are tested for conformance to contractual specs by the same people who designed and built the systems without any significant government oversight. Previously these tests would be contracted out to a third party, which at least was independent of the design/production group.
The new military stuff is so valuable it is: good at half the performance, four times the cost and you can wait as long as it takes to receive it.
A failed test is a pass. A test not performed is a pass.
Waivers and deviations have no impact on cost or performance.
And the spec’s are exactly how the thing needs to perform againstthe enemy.
All the above is true in Versailles (regards to Chuck Spinney sailing the Med) on the Potomoc.
Doing nothing is usually better than paying off the contractors.
But then the bagmen call their congressman and head rool.