Monday, October 7, 2013

Obama Administration Closes Ocean over Government Shutdown

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” 

Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was "closed" due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown. 

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban... of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business. 
This is governing by temper-tantrum. It is on par with the government's ham-fisted attempts to close the DC WWII Memorial, an open-air public monument that is normally accessible 24 hours a day. By accessible I mean, you walk up to it. When you have finished reflecting, you then walk away from it. 
At least that Memorial is an actual structure, with some kind of perimeter that can be fenced off. Florida Bay is the ocean. How, pray tell, do you "close" 1,100 square miles of ocean? Why would one even need to do so?
Apparently, according to an anonymous Park Service ranger, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” 
Centuries ago, King Canute famously failed to command the ocean tide to stop. His display was actually a means to educate his subjects on the limits of royal power. Today, however, our President actually believes he has the power to control the oceans. 

Obama Administration Closes Ocean over Government Shutdown:
The government shutdown can be viewed in one of two ways.
On one hand, it’s an extremely embarrassing indicator of how dysfunctional the U.S. government is right now, and it creates a lot of doubt around the world regarding whether the current polarization in D.C. is a temporary situation or a permanent one.
On the other hand, the shutdown reveals that there is a lot of non-essential personnel in the government right now, and if you accept the general premise that debt is something to worry about, then it’s hard to argue with the notion that some of those jobs don’t need to exist at the federal level.
The Obama Administration and Democrats all over the U.S. are very worried about people realizing that second thing.  And because they’re worried about it, they’re doing the same thing they did prior to sequestration: building it up to be the worst thing ever. Unfortunately, when you build something up to be the worst thing ever and it ends up not being as bad as advertised, you become the party that cried wolf. The sequestration had some very noticeable real-world impacts, and the people that were harmed by it will testify to the fact that it was awful, but it didn’t impact a lot of Americans the way Democrats threatened it would.
Despite the fact that the government is shut down, more than 80 percent of federal employees are still working. The Obama Administration and Democrats now have to do a tight rope walk where they try not to hurt the economy too badly, but still make this shutdown painful enough for people to realize that it’s a bad thing, and not just an overstated inconvenience like what sequestration is now perceived to be.
How are they doing this? Early last week it was by shutting websites, national parks and veteran memorials. Late last week, as noted by, it was by shutting down the ocean. reports that the Obama Administration has closed portions of the ocean around Florida, blocking off charter boats that used to take fisherman into thousands of miles of open water. The same order has shut down Biscayne National Park. Per the Miami Herald, security will be on duty to make sure nobody gets in.
Charter guides received a message from the National Park Service this week informing them that they are not permitted to take clients fishing in Florida Bay until the feds get back to work. That means that more than 1,100 square miles of prime fishing is off limits between the southern tip of the mainland to the Keys until further notice.
The closing affects not only fishing guides, but anyone with a license to conduct business in the park, including tour operators and paddling guides — anyone with a Commercial Use Authorization permit, said Dan Kimball, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks.
Biscayne National Park is also off limits.
Again, it’s not difficult to see what’s going on here. Democrats want to make sure that people understand that the shutdown hurts. Not badly enough that it tanks the economy, but just enough so that it’s noticeable.
Will shutting down the ocean have that effect? We’ll see.

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