Obama's Circumlocution Commission; the Itty-Bitty Whitewash Committee, the Compost Consortium, the ...you get the drill.
Writing the last missive about the "Woopsie Daisy Commission" compelled me to actually read the charter of the group looking into the Gulf oil spill. Found at this hyperlink, gang! Use 'em if you got em!
The first thing that jumps at me is how sparingly the charter uses the word "investigation". Once! In that case it refers to their promise not to go off Helter Skelter interfering with REAL investigations currently underway by actual government agencies and law enforcement. Translation: THIS HERE ain't no INVESTIGATION!
No, this is an "advisory committee", submitting toothless "recommendations" after "findings of fact." With all the non-judgmental warmth and love of The Litte Red School House in Manhattan. Not that there's anything wrong with nurturing CHILDREN WHO HAVE DONE NO EVIL!!; as in caused the death of coworkers, destruction of ecosystems, and damaged thousands of businesses, careers, and families.
..........But I digress.
The committee will submit a report to His Tone-Deafness, His World Traipsing Majesty, the President of the United States Barack Obama, in January. And sixty days later the group will disperse.
Second thing that caught my eyes is the price tag: $15 million smackeroos! Third thing, is that the group is only required to meet once a week. Fourth thing that jumped out, is it engages no less than 35 full-time employees each drawing a government salary. (Yee Haw!) I can only imagine what G-level their average pay-grade is. There are seven committee members and subcommittees appointed ad hoc, in other words, no vote.
What I know about government service, having worked two years overseas, one year here in the U.S. boils down to this: a government worker, or official, will do the bare minimum amount of work mandated, for the total maximum price permitted.
If the minimum effort required is once a week, he will do that thing, once a week, and only once a week! To do otherwise invites hatred and ostracism from his chain of command. If he is given leave to hire, or appropriate 35 FTE's to do that one thing, he will ask for 35 and one more, pretty please, oh please, oh please, oh please!
The group will all work on the wasteful, unverifiable Flex-Time sheets, consume as much per diem as is permitted, exploit every last coffee break, lunch break and water break for the computation of hours. And they will stay in THE VERY BEST hotels, and then some, hoping their credit card expenses are given the blind-eye glance for propriety. They usually are rewarded for their largess.
Now, (sound of crinkling chart paper, accompanied by the hiss of hotel ballroom air-conditioners) the group, like Project Blue Book, like the Warren Commission is likely armed with "guidelines" sent down from on high. In this case, since it was chartered under Executive Order 13543 the "Decider" of those guidelines is the most powerful public official on planet earth, the President.
The go-to guy, is the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu. Where have I heard that name? Oh yeah! Here, CLICK THIS LINK and scroll down the page, please! Dr. Chu accepted a $500 million grant from BP, on behalf of Berkeley Labs, in 2007 BEFORE he was appointed Energy Sec.
Dr. Chu can appoint ad hoc ( no vote) the subcommittee members. The subcommittee members can be department of energy employees.
What you are seeing here of course is the gentle, slow wonkification of this issue. They are taking any potential blame, liability, not to mention the truth, out behind the barn, and slitting its collective throat with a dull blade of government wonkery. And they are charging you $15 million dollars to do it.
Next we'll explore some of their most bizarre positions, as highlighted in their preliminary findings.