Oil spill: If Republicans are smart …

… they’ll stop trying to attack President Obama by apologizing to the only figure less popular in this fiasco — BP — and start talking about the numerous problems with the oil spill response that have resulted from our feds-first, locals-take-a-number approach.

In his column today, David Brooks lists a dozen examples of local officials, with local knowledge of the lay of the land and what’s needed to protect the coast and its people, who have been greatly frustrated by dealing with Washington’s top-down bureaucracy.

If you talk to elected leaders from Louisiana to Florida, they fill your ears with tales of incompetence — of advice that was not heeded, of red tape stifling effective operations, of local knowledge that was cast aside and trampled.

(snip)

Some of this rage is unavoidable when you have a crisis that no one can control. But it’s also clear that we have a federalism problem. All around the region there are local officials who think they know their towns best. They feel insulted by a distant and opaque bureaucracy lurking above.

The balance between federal oversight and local control is off-kilter. We have vested too much authority in national officials who are really smart, but who are really distant. We should be leaving more power with local officials, who may not be as expert, but who have the advantage of being there on the ground.

This is an important policy — not just political — point, because it gets to the heart of the government’s incompetence regarding the spill, not to mention the heart of Obama and the Democrats’ fundamental approach to problem-solving.

We pay the bulk of our taxes to the federal government, so that’s where the resources are. But this in no way guarantees that that’s where the knowledge, expertise and leadership are in a situation like this. The reports from the Gulf so far suggest the opposite is true. How much better might the response been so far if the feds had come to local and state officials in a support role rather than a leadership role?

Now, about the apology (for which the apologist, Texas Republican Joe Barton, has also apologized).

There is a legitimate point to make about whether the president has any legal authority to force BP to create a $20 billion (at least) escrow account to pay for claims. But this is a very narrow point, absent any obvious arm-twisting on Obama’s part. Yes, the announcement came after BP officials and Obama finally met face-to-face about the spill; and yes, Attorney General Eric Holder has made vague threats about a criminal probe of BP. Yes, the funds could wind up being spent irresponsibly or inappropriately. And yes, it’s even possible that Obama informed BP CEO Tony Hayward that his panel of experts had reviewed the evidence, conferred, and advised the president that Hayward’s keister is the “ass to kick” here.

But again, this is a narrow point, barring the emergence of some recording in which the president tells BP “do this, or I’ll destroy you.” And even then, you couldn’t possibly make this point in a worse way than framed as an apology to BP.

It’s also, I would guess, beside the point as far as most Americans are concerned. This is not where the frustration with government overreach lies for many Americans. For many more, it’s about the idea that we send too many tax dollars away to a distant government whose layers and layers of bureaucrats render it incapable of quick, nimble, effective action. That obvious truth is why complaints about government waste and government inefficiency and unfunded federal mandates and all the rest get traction with the public.

This is both a philosophical and a practical problem, one that ought to demonstrate that federalism and decentralization are real concerns for more than a few “South shall rise again” holdouts. The imbalance between the federal and state/local governments is a real problem with real consequences.

Making that case would get to the problem with the agenda of Obama and national Democrats far more pointedly than any complaints that the White House intimidated an oil company that everyone knows screwed up big-time.

127 comments Add your comment

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
1:26 pm

Barton’s spin on his apology and his retraction of the same defies the vast expanses of credibility even in this era of the Party of No

Rickster

June 18th, 2010
1:27 pm

There’s no issue or disaster that the federal government can’t make worse.

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
1:28 pm

Republicans…smart…. now there are two terms not usually in the same sentence…. snark!

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
1:31 pm

Ah yes… focus the blame of the feds…. not on the fact that BP promised it could clean this up…as well as the oil companies…. Got some Gulf Walrus?

The Feds are behind the ball…definitely. They were never prepared for this but that lack of preparedness came from many many years of failure of the MMS.

Ezra

June 18th, 2010
1:35 pm

If Republicans are smart they would check your conservative credentials.

Tyler Durden

June 18th, 2010
1:35 pm

Half of the GOP is claiming Obama’s not doing enough; the other half say he’s doing too much. The main takeaway: any disagreement with Obama is sound logic.

Barton undoubtedly scored beaucoup points with the Liptonites and other people mysteriously unaware of any Federal activity prior to Obama’s inauguration, but the vast majority of America is less concerned with scoring points and more focused on fixing this mess caused by massive deregulation and a ‘business first’ approach to policy making.

Of course, the Party of No will continue to whine and gnash their teeth, but no one pays them much attention anymore anyway…

Waaaaaaah! We don’t like Obama. Waaaah! Why can’t things go back to the way they were under Bush?!

Saul Good

June 18th, 2010
1:40 pm

If republicans were smart, they’d never have elected George W. Bush. So in that case…I guess one could say that makes republicans: ______

joe

June 18th, 2010
1:42 pm

Obama is not qualified to lead the clean up efforts, just as he is not qualified to be leading our country. Great speaker, not a leader and poll numbers dropping with each passing day. Ask James Carville about him.

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
1:49 pm

Joe…your right Obama is not qualified to clean up. Has no training in oil matters – he is not the expert. He is however the leader of this country and can pull together a team to try to clean up what the BP corporate disaster.

Hey wait..didn’t we have some oil people in office before. Surely they know how to clean this mess. I even bet when they were in office, they made sure that the feds were prepared for this type of disaster. Why, I bet if I turned on the news, old Dick Cheney (former head of Halliburton) would be out there on every chanel telling us how the experts at Halliburton, including him, can fix this.

What.. the only guy so far with real technology (patented by the government) is from Hollywood? Dick can’t do better that the Waterworld guy?

Joe, do you even know Dick?

Tyler Durden

June 18th, 2010
1:53 pm

Careful: you’re asking a GOP supporter about facts. They specialize in rhetoric and hatin. Facts are cumbersome and difficult to bend to match ideology. You may as well ask Joe about why we’re in Iraq, spending $1 billion a week in a voluntary war…

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
1:56 pm

Thanks for the reminder Tyler…. If poll numbers were a guide to whether the President could lead, when did Bush leave office?

joe

June 18th, 2010
2:02 pm

@ keep…You say he “can” pull together a team to “try” to clean up the gulf. If BO was any type of leader, he would have had his so called team of experts in place on day 1 of this mess protecting the marshlands and beaches in the gulf. So, if he can do it…why has he not done it yet?? What on Earth is he waiting for???

Also, the oil people you referred to were no better qualified either…so we went from a couple of baffoons in office to an unqualified, teleprompter reading, community organizer, who is choosing to turn our country into a nanny state that may implode with all the unchecked spending on healhcare, wars, and bailouts he can dream up.

Also, I don’t know Dick at all, but something tells me you come across them often.

Jack

June 18th, 2010
2:02 pm

Representatives Barton and Price have nothing to apologize for. Look, it may sound cold hearted but it is the truth – big business is the driving force in American economics and big oil is big business, creating tens of thousands of jobs in America and uptold billions of economic good. My only complaint is that BP caved in to democrats rather than reward their stockholders.

Instead of pouting and begging for a free handout, those freeloaders living in the Gulf who are out a dollar or two should look for other work.

I am proud that the Republican Party has been and always will be the defender of big business and big profit in America. Let the freeloaders and crybabies in the Gulf region go find a democrat (if they exist down there) to beg for handouts.

LibraryJim

June 18th, 2010
2:08 pm

One — ONE — Republican says something stupid (but maybe accurate) and it’s a broad brush used to paint the entire GOP. Sloppy commentary! While Republican Senators, Congressmen/women and Governors (eg., Michelle Bachman, John Boehner, and Bobby Jindal — I apologize for misspellings) are calling for a stop to the red tape, excessive review committees and studies and for the administration to allow constructive action.

joe

June 18th, 2010
2:09 pm

@ Tyler, I’m not a GOP supporter. I’m an Independent and can think for myself. Some conservative policies are better for our country than the liberal/socialist agenda BO pushes down our throats… There is a reason we are not France, but maybe you would be happier there.

We went into Iraq to remove a ruthless dictator who gassed his own countrymen. And since most of that is behind us, our world is now much better off for having done so. Hope Iran is next…come on Israel.

CJ

June 18th, 2010
2:12 pm

Kyle: “There is a legitimate point to make about whether the president has any legal authority to force BP to create a $20 billion (at least) escrow account to pay for claims.

No there isn’t.

And this oil spill doesn’t raise an issue between federalism v. decentralization. Since BP assured regulators that they had the technology and capacity to handle a cap and clean-up a spill of this magnitude (and regulators believed them), the issue is strong regulation v. deregulation, and this tragedy provides a strong argument for the former.

Tyler Durden

June 18th, 2010
2:13 pm

Maybe Jack should call Haley Barbour and Bobby Jindal. Seems they have different ideas about how this should be handled.

It’s not about disliking big business; it’s about having proper checks & balances to keep them accountable. Like, I dunno, maybe making them pony up for their messes when it ruins an entire region of the country for a generation or two.

And where’s Sarah Palin and her ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ mantra lately? Seems she’s awful quiet on the matter now that the myopic nature of her views has been exposed. Sure glad we don’t have her serving any purposeful role in any of this…

Come to think of it: is she serving a purposeful role ANYWHERE lately?

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
2:14 pm

Why Joe.. seems to me that the experts would be the people drilling at record depths… the oil companies. Yet not one of them has a real plan. So you expect Obama to identify the experts immediately and to know how to fix the mess BP caused. Could it be that perhaps no one has an answer at this point because over the years no one prepared? But let’s blame Obama for that, and for outdated regulations and for lax enforcement.

Hmmm…let’s add in that BP has been hiding the truth about the spill and first indicated it had the answers and would fix it.

Seems you are too busy spouting talking points out of ignorance or utter delusion of the facts. I guess you just want to make this the ninny state.

Saul Good

June 18th, 2010
2:15 pm

“We went into Iraq to remove a ruthless dictator who gassed his own countrymen.”

O’Really? THAT’S why we went there? I recall it being something about WMD’s and them having links to 9-11. Never mind the hundreds of thousands of “innocent” Iraqi’s that were killed as “collateral damage” because of us….or the 2+ million who fled their homeland because of us…

The “went there to remove the dictator” BS… that only came about after it was concluded that there never were any WMD’s and they were never a threat to us.

Let me askya Joe… why did we not remove the other TWO Axis of Evil leaders? Not enough oil deposits where they reside?

Kyle Wingfield

June 18th, 2010
2:16 pm

CJ: Cite the law that gives the authority. Like I said, this is a narrow point to make against Obama, but now I’m curious to know how you legally justify it.

Tyler Durden

June 18th, 2010
2:17 pm

Awwww, Joe. Ruthless dictator… I believe that’s the umpteenth excuse provided for Iraq, and it’s no more legitimate than any of the the previous. $1 billion a week would fix a lot in America (including the Gulf), yet you still back a broke-leg horse. At least you’re consistent. Outta touch and sadly misinformed, but consistent…

GOBAMA!!!!!

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
2:23 pm

Kyle, let’s be clear. Your comment “CJ: Cite the law that gives the authority. Like I said, this is a narrow point to make against Obama, but now I’m curious to know how you legally justify it. There is no need to cite a law. This was a interim resolution to the claim issue. BP admits liability and voluntarily agreed to pay the money. If they did not like it, they had some high powered attorneys with them, they could have said “NO, sue us” and then walked out to the waiting cameras and gotten coverage of their refusal. In fact those attorneys, billing hundreds if not thousand dollars an hour, could have said..the President violated the law. They said nothing. They agreed to pay.

Mr. T

June 18th, 2010
2:24 pm

ever notice that the liberals are posting all day during work hours? Someone has to work to support them. Or are they all government workers?

Ezra

June 18th, 2010
2:27 pm

Keep up the good fight
June 18th, 2010
2:23 pm
Exactly, BP agreed to pay before Obama jumped on the band wagon. Most likely because of his falling disapproval rating and the legitmate bashing of socialist programs the POTUS is ramming down the throat of America.

Tyler Durden

June 18th, 2010
2:28 pm

As for the law that gives Obama the authority: since the oil spill is a threat to America’s wellbeing, economy and future, I sure as hell hope he’ll go after those chumps. Unlike Iraq, this is a REAL threat to America, and unlike Bush, Obama doesn’t need to kiss big oil’s buttocks for helping have him installed as President. So, it;s no small surprise most GOP supporters don’t get it.

Ezra

June 18th, 2010
2:29 pm

Mr. T

June 18th, 2010
2:24 pm
Dont be so hard on government employees Mr T, they are the same as other employees. It is the policies and leadership in the work environment that is at fault if either is doing something they are not supposed to be doing.

Kyle Wingfield

June 18th, 2010
2:30 pm

keep up: I read CJ’s comment to suggest that there is legal justification, but maybe your explanation is what CJ had in mind.

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
2:30 pm

Ezra…. “ramming down the throat”…..its called an election, you lost. That is the beauty of democracy…we can out vote you…..oh wait till November 2012!

joe

June 18th, 2010
2:31 pm

Last post for me today, so I’ll end with this. In one of my previous posts, I said that the previous administration were also not qualified on several issues, but they did keep us safe from terrorists after 9-11, so you have to give them their due on issues where they were strong. To date, I have not seen anything out of our current leader to say he has any strengths. I will say I do think he has done an admirable job on Afghanistan, but the jury is still out there…but I’m hopeful. On the home front, everything he has pushed on us so far just adds to the mounting trillions of debt we owe with no end in site…auto bailouts, wall street bailouts, bank bailouts, healthcare for all not matter the cost, and refusing to enforce our immigration laws. We cannot continue to pay out like this or we will end up like Greece…or worse. If any of you have children, how can you sleep at night knowing the bleak financial future we are leaving for them?

And here in lies the difference for those of us who know how to think and act for ourselves ( I can criticize based on actions or non-actions of all political parties) and you liberals who cannot see the forest for the trees. Every single one of you sounds like the next. Blind leading the blind. Wake up and get a clue already. Your socialist/liberal policies won’t work here…Capitalism and freedom trumps big government every time. Take some personal responsibility, don’t rely on Washington for everything you want or need.

somewhereinga

June 18th, 2010
2:33 pm

Jack: “Instead of pouting and begging for a free handout, those freeloaders living in the Gulf who are out a dollar or two should look for other work.”

I think that say’s a lot for the members of the republican party these days. Makes me glad I’m a Christian instead.

Tell us, Jack. Who would you have pay for the clean-up of the Gulf? The taxpayers? Because we sure wouldn’t want to inconvenience a multi-billion dollar corporation who caused this disaster.

Mr. Holmes

June 18th, 2010
2:36 pm

I continue to be amazed at how this spill has not already rung the death knell for the Republican party.

FACT: For decades Big Oil, with the GOP as its loyal lapdog, has insisted that even the most modest amount of safety and environmental regulation is tantamount to communism. (Hello? “Drill baby drill?” They are STILL saying that–today!)

FACT: Even with that lax regulation, BP cut corner after corner on both worker safety and environmental protection. And boy did it come back to bite them.

FACT: The government has no secret cadre of experts on plugging gushing oil wells miles below the ocean surface, nor has it ever claimed to. For all the “I’m from the government and here to help” right-wingers on this board, *BP* is the entity that promised this technology was virtually fail-safe and vouched for the resources to mitigate any disasters that happened.

FACT: Now the backroom collusion between Big Oil and the GOP has resulted in the worst environmental catastrophe in the country’s history–and counting.

FACT: *Despite all of the above*, we still have GOP congressmen–not just Joe Barton but others, just not on live freakin’ national TV–apologizing to BP for all the inconvenience this situation has caused them. And, in the very next breath, barking that we need to do *more* deepwater drilling, not less, and that we need to do it immediately.

Call me crass if you want, but if the Dems can’t use this to bury Republicanism for a generation, they’re even stupider than I thought.

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
2:38 pm

OMG…the “he kept us safe argument AFTER 9-11″…… and you think you know how to think” Oh that is so funny…..

Dusty

June 18th, 2010
2:55 pm

Ugliest scene I have seen in a long time! Congress acted like a bunch of petulant kids. Kinda like bloggers here. Act nasty to everyone you don’t like or with whom you disagree. They acted like a bunch of backwater thugs out to get the rich oil man in their sights. What a disgrace!

The British have always been our friends and coworkers. BP is a British company. They were doing legal work with all the permits, inspections, and requirements of the USA. They were supplying the world of oil to USA and others and it came not from the MIddle East. But, the head of one of UK’s major companies was treated like he was a criminal because of an accident. A terrible accident that happens in such dangerous business as oil wells, coal mines, nuclear reactors and the like.

Obama has also started to act like a poodle barking at a German shepherd. The most facetious tough act I’ve seen since playground days. And now he is gong to demand this and that from a company already doing more than the government and doing everything possible to stop a lterrible spill they didn’t want any more than we did. They have offered so much the company may go into decline or bankruptcy.

But the President wants to treat British citizens doing work in the USA like they are indentured servants who must pay pay and promise . What next? Tony Heyward must promise to donate his vital organs to Americans to prove that BP will pay damages?

Congress is putting on a poor show. The president is performing like a brwildered baby bear.

Where oh where is George W. Bush who knew how to pull a country together when disaster happens? He was honest, straighforward and optimistic. He was a leader. That is what we need.

jconservative

June 18th, 2010
2:55 pm

Obama used political muscle to get the $20 billion committment out of BP. But BP is behind the 8 ball; an 8 ball of their own creation.

The more we find out about BP the more BP makes the Federal government look downright efficient. Note the OSHA violations: Exxon 1, BP 760, all in the same time period.

DebbieDo Right

June 18th, 2010
2:56 pm

I don’t get it…..aren’t you, Kyle, the same guy who just weeks before the BP disaster, advocated for the States to take charge of their own affairs? You inferred the Government (Feds) should only get involved in the case of National Security (War) and that’s about it! If you don’t want BP to foot the bill the shouldn’t Louisiana be the ones to do it? Aren’t they in a lawsuit AGAINST the Feds? Didn’t you support said lawsuit? (healthcare) So why NOW are you same guys hollering for “federal intervention”? Is there a war in Lousiana we didn’t know anything about?

hotlanta

June 18th, 2010
2:56 pm

Best Republican spoken word so far. It was just an accident-Rand Paul

DebbieDo Right

June 18th, 2010
2:58 pm

Dusty 4 words regarding BP — FAILED TO FOLLOW PROCEDURES.

DebbieDo Right

June 18th, 2010
3:00 pm

Dusty I forgot to add this – Your post = two words —–>>> DELUSIONAL RANTINGS.

Dusty

June 18th, 2010
3:01 pm

Mr. Holmes, 2:36

Democratic Headquartes will send your check as soon as they can. They appreciate your support and your blind loyalty.

somewhereinga

June 18th, 2010
3:05 pm

Dusty said :”acted like a bunch of petulant kids. Kinda like bloggers here. Act nasty to everyone you don’t like or with whom you disagree.”

And then, of course, proceeds to act nasty to everyone she (or he) disagrees with.

“But, the head of one of UK’s major companies was treated like he was a criminal because of an accident.”

Accident? They cut every corner they could cut. They only thing that amazes me is that it didn’t happen days before!

Have you had your mind open? Try listening to what’s being said by EMPLOYEES about how they (the BP MANAGEMENT) CAUSED the accident!

Get your head out of the sand, Dusty!

Dusty

June 18th, 2010
3:07 pm

DebbieDoRight

Your post—->WISHFUL THINKING

And I forgot to mention this,

MMS (USA inspectors)——> FAILED TO DO THEIR JOB

CJ

June 18th, 2010
3:08 pm

Kyle,

The president didn’t force BP to create the escrow account; they did so voluntarily. To my knowledge, there’s no law that would prevent BP from setting up such an account.

I don’t know what Obama said to persuade BP to set this fund up or to commit to $20 billion, but I do know that the stated amount was perceived by BP’s investors as offering some certainty about the magnitude of the loss (BP’s stock price rose immediately after the escrow account was announced). I also know that setting up the escrow account was a reasonable public relations move that might ultimately benefit investors in the long-run.

Linda

June 18th, 2010
3:13 pm

There’s 3 goals for the oil spill: to plug the hole, to prevent the spill from reaching the coast & to clean up the coast.

Unfortunately, the third goal is impossible. Once the oil comes in contact with the marshes & beaches, they are history. There will be miles & miles of boarded up hotels, houses, condos & restaurants in Gulfport, Biloxi, Dauphin Island, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Pensacola, Fort Walton, Destin, Panama City & possibly down the north-south Fla. shores. Unemployment & foreclosures will be unprecedented. Industries will end. Ways of life will be destroyed. People will be sick. Wildlife are dead & dying.

Emphasis should have been to protect the coasts, to remove the oil while it was still 50 miles away. On day 60, it’s being reported that only 18,000 barrels are being siphoned of the at least 60,000 barrels that are leaking per day!!!!!!!!!

Why has the president not temporarily waved the Jones Act as have other presidents such as Bush after Katrina? To protect the unions?

Why has the fed. govt. not approved, begged for, borrowed or stole tankers large enough to contain the oil?

Why has the fed. govt. not agreed to the assistance from the other 15 countries who have the equipment & expertise?

Why are we not using the super tanker technique Nick Pozzi used when Saudi Arabia had a spill in ‘93 when he was able to salvage 85% of the oil, as explained to Esquire & on Today by John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil?

Why was a 6-month moratorium added to the report by 15 panel review members, misrepresenting their recommendations, as reported by the Wall St. Journal? A letter signed by 8 of them (7 engineers) selected by the adm. states: …A blanket moratorium is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further & it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill…The only other major pollutant event from offshore drilling was 41 years ago…The safety of offshore workers is much better than that of the average worker in the US & the amount of oil spilled is significantly less than that of commercial shipping or petroleum tankers…The US offshore industry is vital to our energy needs. It provides 30% of our oil production, is the second largest source of revenue to the US govt. ($6 Billion per yr.) & has a DIRECT employment of 150,000 individuals…A blanket moratorium will have the indirect effect of harming thousands of workers & further impact state & local economies suffering from the spill. We would in effect be punishing a large swath of people who were & are acting responsibly & are providing a product the nation demands…”

http://www.masterresource.org/2006/06/deepwater-gate/

somewhereinga

June 18th, 2010
3:14 pm

Mr T: The only people posting here are liberals? Tell Dusty that!

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
3:16 pm

Dusty…an accident…just about as much as if I drank a case of beer, hopped into my car, drove down a busy 2 lane road at 120 mph while texting, talking on the phone and eating some ribs…so when I hit a car and kill a family..why driving is dangerous, its just an accident.

Do you pay attention? BP conducted its own inspections and pencilled in the reports, BP failed to follow procedures, ignored its own experts, took shortcuts and had no clean up plan (the Gulf Walrus)….Oh and BP told everyone that an accident could not happen here because of its proven safety record and the safeguards in place. Could not happen.

If this is excusable by a claim of “accidents happen”, and now a “dangerous business” perhaps the “drill baby drill” chants were…(A) foolish or (b) pure stupidity.

And a call for leaders like GWB…why that is crazy talk!

Mr. Holmes

June 18th, 2010
3:18 pm

Dusty: If you don’t like my post, tell me where it’s wrong. I notice this blog’s owner is mum.

Ezra

June 18th, 2010
3:18 pm

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
2:30 pm
Ahh, I see, I cant wait.

Ezra

June 18th, 2010
3:19 pm

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
3:16 pm
You think just like Obama and the democrats.

Ezra

June 18th, 2010
3:19 pm

Keep up the good fight!

June 18th, 2010
3:16 pm
You think just like Obama and the democrats.

Kyle Wingfield

June 18th, 2010
3:20 pm

jconservative: This case and BP’s past operational problems in this country (e.g., Texas City refinery explosion) certainly don’t put the company in a good light. BP is no model for the rest of the industry, and if the feds decided to deny BP operating permits in the future, well, it’d be hard to make a case for the company.

Debbie: Judging by your comment, I’m not at all convinced that you’ve read this or anything else I’ve written. We have the federal government that we have, and it is no small entity. If we are going to pay taxes to it (as we do) and if it is going to get involved in crises like this (as it does), is it too much to ask that it do so with some measure of competence — including serving in a support role to more-knowledgeable state and local governments if need be?

CJ: I mostly agree with your 3:08 and am sorry if I misunderstood your 2:12.