Sunday, March 13, 2011

Obama's New Standup Comic Routine

I like comedy, but this is uproariously funny. From the Washington Post:
Clinton left Washington on Sunday for Paris; later in the week, she’ll hold the first Cabinet-level U.S. talks with the Libyan opposition and discussions on democratic reform with transitional leaders in post-revolt Egypt and Tunisia.
So... later in the week she will meet with the Libyan opposition. I guess that means she will stand by the big open ditch in which Gaddafi has dumped the bodies. With the pace of advance of Gaddafi's army, there won't be any "opposition" left alive in Libya.

I wonder why Obama decided to spring this "joke" on the world. Does he think he will be brownie points for "showing concern" at this point of the debacle? He has missed the opportunity to use the momentum by the rebels to get Gaddafi out of the country. Bad timing. Now that the rebels are in full retreat, he talks of "holding meetings". Again, bad timing. Is he that stupid? With all those high-priced "advisors" nobody in the White House doesn't realize there won't be an "opposition" left alive by the end of this week?

Since they are that brain dead, I'm sure they have not prepared to the super-big "humanitarian effort" which will be needed when about a million people from eastern Libya make the sprint for the Egyptian border in front of Gaddafi's murderous troops. But since Obama was too stupid to realize his previous bad timing, I won't be surprised that he has no clue of the humanitarian crisis that will flood Egypt in less than a week.

I guess I shouldn't be so hard on Obama. This kind of bureaucratic sluggishness affects all countries. That's why I'm not surprised that Japan has only put half its military on alert to assist in a crisis that is an order of magnitude bigger than the thick-headed bureaucrats yet realize. There are people with no water, no food, no heat, no communications... several million people. Meanwhile the Japanese bureaucracy is constantly being "surprised" that their response effort isn't big enough so they call in more troops.

I'm just a lowly civilian, but within an hour of hearing about the 8.9 quake and the tsunami, I would have been requisitioning buses from Tokyo and planning a mass evacuation from the northeast quadrant of Honshu island. Failing that, when I heard about failing nuclear reactors, I would have then undertaken the evacuation.

But the authorities haven't done that. That means millions are in a tenuous state of existence at the end of a very long lifeline where all the infrastructure has been destroyed. It makes no sense trying to bring water, food, energy, and communications to people in a devastated land. It makes more sense to evacuate them, send in engineers in a massive rebuilding effort, and then bring the people back. That would be less burdensome. But that requires leaders with vision and understanding. I keep hitting my head against the wall when I realize that one pre-requisite for being in government is to check your brains at the door. Creative, free-thinking, intelligent public servants is an oxymoron. To succeed in government you have to learn "group think" and realize that initiative will only get you fired. You job is to warm a seat. Not deliver public services.

Here is an example of how a proper bureaucrat spends their time. They come up with regulations and laws that "properly define" such complex concepts as a "defense article". (Notice the use of an opaque term. Rather than simply say "war materiel" that requires no definition, they come up with a neologism "defense article" and busy themselves defining it. That is a government bureaucrat busily being "useful".) From a US Navy page:
Be it enacted by the Senate add House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as "An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States".

SEC. 2. As used in this Act -

(a) The term "defense article" means -

(1) Any weapon, munition. aircraft, vessel, or boat;

(2) Any machinery, facility, tool, material, or supply necessary for the manufacture, production, processing, repair, servicing, or operation of any article described in this subsection;

(3) Any component material or part of or equipment for any article described in this subsection;

(4) Any agricultural, industrial or other commodity or article for defense.

Such term "defense article" includes any article described in this subsection: Manufactured or procured pursuant to section 3, or to which the United States or any foreign government has or hereafter acquires title, possession, or control.

(b) The term "defense information" means any plan, specification, design, prototype, or information pertaining to any defense article.
Notice the wonderfully circular definition of "defense article" above which includes the phrase "Any agricultural, industrial or other commodity or article for defense.". It takes sheer genius to define "defense article" as "an article for defense". Brilliant!

My father worked as a purchasing agent for the military. He would occasionally bring home some convoluted contract for me to read through when I was in high school and help him understand the bureaucratese. I always marveled at how bureaucrats refused to use plain English and insisted on coming up with neologisms and convoluted phrasings to make their documents sound more "official". What made me fall down laughing was that they used words they didn't understand in ways that made no sense thereby turning a simple contract into convoluted "bureaucratese" that no sane person could possibly understand. So much for "efficiency" in the government.

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